The Phone Call After I Went to Bed

I still pray. It’s a habit I haven’t given up. I don’t know if my gods are used to being prayed to, but I tell them that this is the way that I know and so that’s what I know to do. I pray, though, to all of my loved ones, friends, family, and gods, living and not living.

Sometimes, I think Christianity never stood a chance with me, because I cannot experience God in any way other than as my Dad’s boss. And it’s really hard to have a reciprocal, caring relationship with Someone you know can send your family off to stupid little things, without seeming like He’s acting against you, and with whom you have no recourse.

But I have a metaphor for my loved ones. They are, after all, my loved ones. We might have different ideas about what constitutes “best” but we all want what’s best for each other.

And so I was saying again what I said to y’all, about how I want to be a better aunt, about how I want my brother to get his act together, about how I am afraid for my nephews and want them to have better lives than they do. I was saying how I feel like I need to do something, but I wasn’t sure what.

And then I went to bed.

And then the phone rang.

And it was my brother, calling from the road, on his way home to Georgia from North Carolina. He talked for a long time about how miserable he is and I said, I know and I said how I can’t stand to see him take it out on his kids and I told him that he’s got to get his shit together. And he told me about how he’s been feeling and I said, “Yeah, because you’re clearly depressed, and who can blame you, with as hard as your life is?” And how it’s like this vicious circle of stupidity, and like he’s constantly shooting himself in the foot. And I told him that everyone is ready to support him, but it’s on him to actually do some shit to change his situation.

And he asked why I never said this stuff to him before and I said that he wouldn’t have listened to me if I did. And he admitted that he wouldn’t have, but he thought it would have at least sunk in later. And I said, maybe, but it’s not that much fun to lecture people who don’t want it (okay, it is, but that’s what the internet is for!) and then he said that I had always been the person in the family that lectured people when they were off track.

And I am still kind of laughing at that, of course, because, yeah, that’s true. It’s also true that I’m also the person who gets called bossy all the time. It tickles me this dynamic of “do this for me and then let me hold it against you.” I mean, I laugh because it sucks as far as dynamics go. And yet it never occurs to them that the second half of that dynamic might be why I stopped doing the first half.

So, it was a good conversation.

It also seemed particularly well-timed. And I told you all the woo-woo story at the beginning because I’m putting seven of my dozen eggs in that basket. The other five are still in the “this is most what you needed to hear in order to not have a long talk with Dad about this brother that might end in the money spigot being redirected.”

And I’m sorry and heart-broken that I need that second basket at all, but there you go.

Hope for the best, but be real.

I should get that made into t-shirts we can wear at Christmas.

5 thoughts on “The Phone Call After I Went to Bed

  1. I feel your pain girl. I have two sisters that are just lost. One is so angry that she has lost all three of her children and has no family left. She has missed her kid’s three college graduations and two marriages. In fact, my niece had armed security at her wedding to keep my sis out.

    My other sister is a lifelong con artist who just can’t hold a job and dates every loser she can find. She will start to put her life together and bam along comes the next drug addict, ex con, etc to wreck it again.

    I’ve given up and work on me. You are a better sis than I am a brother.

  2. Eh, I doubt it. I think I’m probably just stupider. I can’t bear to see my parents so heartbroken, so I can’t let go of the hope that their efforts won’t be futile.

  3. Well, I think that your two baskets are not mutually exclusive. But, more to the point, I think that if your parents want to help your brother — really help him — and you want to support them in that, a long conversation with them that includes the late-night phone call wouldn’t hurt. But, ultimately, you know, it is up to him. Which is too bad, and probably close to unbearable for your parents, but still the truth.

  4. There’s so much to say that is beyond me right now. But the basic is that I’m glad you got to have that conversation with your brother. You needed to say it as much as he needed to hear it.

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