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9.05.2012

How do you keep blood thicker than water?

I'm travelling home next week for a few days to visit my mom and sibs and a couple of cousins. I haven't gone back to Canada for several years. Besides the fact that I can't stand driving and it takes 6 hours to get there, I admit that I have an imperfect relationship with my family. My mom and I get along fine, have done for many years since we worked out our "mother/son" issues and became friends. My oldest brother and I are friendly but not that close but we love each other and get on fine.

My brother Alec, he of "You Pedal I'll Steer" fame, and I have been estranged for the past 4 years and at awkward arms length for years before that. I know that has kept me from visiting. I could never understand it and we tried on several occasions to work it out only to find anger and frustration rearing up between us both. Since my cancer, we've managed to break through the noise and reconnect. I think we both had a flash of how short life really can be and didn't want that to be the last word between us.

One thing I faced with my family was just how crazy we all are and, therefore, how crazy I am. There is another brother I haven't mentioned and my sister, Katrina, who you may have met earlier in my blogs when she's visited us. I think the 3 of us are the whacko ones. Without going into issues and details, we all 3 recognize our mental frailties. We each deal with them differently, but when I look at them I look in the mirror and that can be difficult. Which can make visits difficult.

It makes me realize how frail any long term family relationships can be. Tio and Kit insist they hate each other. They certainly have typical sibling rival issues but underneath it all, they do care about each other. Can that sustain them into adulthood so that they might be able to connect and count on each other? Hard to say. Tish has been totally estranged from her family for over 10 years and emotionally estranged from them for much longer. Just being 'family' is not a given of a lifelong relationship. Nor is it a guarantee of a positive experience as so many will attest.

I want these boys to walk away from childhood with the support of each other. I'm sure there will be some distance for a time when they sort out who they are as individuals but  I want them to be able to return to the family, turn to each other, and know there are people there they can lean on, count on and come back to.

Will that be too much to ask?