{mexico} and going forward

 

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Hello friends,

 

I feel like I have neglected this little place in my life lately.  So many things going on, life getting in the way, travel, projects.  I love it here and it usually isn’t until I return that I realize how much I have missed it.  It is the place I come to share the parts of my life that give me joy, or inspiration, or to share things I think you too will appreciate.  I try to keep it rather light- except for the times when I need you to really understand the weight that your support can carry; the lives you can help change.  I don’t tend to do a lot of “venting” here, or divulging of private information- I feel like we all have enough of that in our “local” lives that we don’t need more drama coming from me.  But I want to share something that I experienced a couple of weeks ago, and it may get a bit personal.  There are no recipes, or inspiration in this post- only me, and some of the parts may not be all that pretty.  Proceed with caution…

 

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Last month #4 and I took a trip to Mexico to visit my brother and his wife.  This brother, who is 3 1/2 years younger than I am, is the one I grew up with.  He is the one that I knew from the moment that he was born, the one who’s hand I held and rubbed the back of when he was a toddler as it was so soft.  It is strange, the things you remember the clearest.  We argued – a lot – as children, but I don’t think I thought about it a lot growing up.  What I do remember about our childhood is that I was “in charge” of him a lot when we were young.   It was a time (the 70s) when kids came home from school alone and no one worried.  A time when, come summer, we left the house in the morning to play in the neighborhood and didn’t return home until after a game of kick-the-can long after sunset.  It was a different time.  But what I remember about us- about my brother and I – was that because I was responsible for him I bossed him around.  A lot.  And I’m sure, as anyone would, he hated it.  I won’t go into the whys or the whats of our childhood- suffice it to say that there are many things I had conveniently “forgotten” about that time.  I know now that it was a survival tactic- but back then, it was just survival.

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When I was 16 and my brother was 12 my mother moved back to Canada from the states.  It was a sudden decision and one that we had no say in.  As I was going into my junior year of high school I decided that I would not move to Canada with her.  My brother, however, went.  And that was the end of my life living with a little brother, the only brother I had ever known.  (right now I am struggling for words to put here,  because of all that I have been re-processing over the past two weeks, it has again suddenly hit me at how insane, how wrong and completely fucked up that is- being torn away from your little brother)  I went to live with my dad, and continued on with school.  It was a messed up time.  I was an hormonal pissy teenage girl who was so angry that her mother had abandoned her, and I’m pretty sure I made life hell for my dad and step-mom.  God bless them for not kicking me out over the two years that I was there.

 

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For whatever reason, (and a clear sign of how messed up I was at the time) when I graduated school I decided it was a good idea for me to move to Canada to live with my mom rather than going to college.  Two things- 1. I was all kinds of messed up at that point.  I can’t accurately and fully convey the disaster that was my mental state in any way that will make you understand what a hot mess I was.  and, 2. I don’t for one minute regret that decision, as through it I gained two incredible boys and, most likely two more little ones years later.  So, off I went to Canada to start anew.  I moved in with my mom, her boyfriend and my little brother where I stayed for – well, again, I have blocked much of that time so I can’t really tell you how long I was there.  I’m pretty sure it was less than a year.  Even though I lived with my little brother we didn’t bond through that time.  I know he had his own demons to battle, and my heart breaks for that wasted time that we could have possibly found a way to connect and be each other’s ally through it all.  However, that wasn’t the case and as soon as I was able to move out on my own I did just that.

 

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Fast forward 24 years.  Mid-winter break was coming up and my brother and his wife had moved to Mexico within the past year.  I had probably seen them twice since their wedding nine years ago and hadn’t seen him more than two or three other times in those 24 years.  We rarely talked and only sent the occasional message through facebook.  And that was it- life as siblings.  (again, a loss, as what the hell made me think that was okay???)  But for some reason, the idea to visit them with #4 came and when I asked them what they thought they seemed to be excited at the possibility.  So we booked tickets and planned to go.  I had no idea what to expect, but knew that this may be my one chance to connect with two people whom I love and who are my family.  But mostly I was just excited to see my little brother.

 

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Sissy and her dad (whom I have adored since he stitched up #2 at their rehearsal dinner 9 years ago) picked us up from the airport and I was so excited to see them after a long day of travel with three flights and time at four different airports.  My brother had dropped them off to meet us and then waited in the car (Mexican airport parking issues) until we were ready for him.  When I saw him- well, he seemed so grown up.  I know I had seen him a few years prior for a day but it really hit me when I saw him in Mexico.  My little brother wasn’t little.  And our life had passed us by- it hadn’t waited for things to be fixed, it just kept on moving along, me without a little brother.   It was the first time my heart felt a tiny bit shattered by it all.

 

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We arrived at their beautiful home, got the tour, met their incredibly well-trained dogs and then went for a little walk around the neighborhood.  Finn and I were enthralled from the very first moment.  The smell of the plumeria trees, the orange trees, the oranges!  There were cactus everywhere, the air was warm, and – for the first time since considering going on this trip – I felt like this may have been a very good idea indeed.  #4 was immediately smitten with my brother and from those first few minutes, the two of them were inseparable.  It was amazing to watch, a bit emotional and completely joyous for me to see two of my very favorite people on the planet bond like that.  I was grateful, and humbled that the man that I had loved when he was a child was now loving my child.

 

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The entire week was a whirlwind of amazing destinations, quiet walks on beaches or through beautiful old towns with whitewashed adobe homes.  It was incredible food, good wine (well, good wine one night- that second night, let’s just say someone “may” have purchased a bottle of wine not exactly meant for enjoying more than a very small glass, while someone else “may” have consumed most of the bottle herself) and deep, meaningful conversation.  That conversation is what meant the most to me on the trip, and is also what has left me in a state of just left of crazy since  I have returned home.  One thing I do need to share, however, is that my sister-in-law may be one of the MOST insightful, understanding, kind and empathetic people on the planet.  And I get to have her as a sister-in-law- although really, she is a sister that I have never had.  Through her we were able to talk about things that were tough, and ugly – things that I had forgotten for so many years.  You have to remember- my brother is the only person on the planet who really knows what my childhood was like.  He is the only one I can talk to who actually “gets it”  - who can relate, help me remember and understand my feelings.  While we dealt with growing up differently, I think that he understands why I coped the way I did- even if, as a child, he hated me for it.  He told me that, you know.  That he hated me for most of his life.  I cried.  I cried because I was a child and I didn’t do anything to him that would make him hate me, and yet he did, because of the situation.  And I don’t blame him- at all.  I hated me.  But we lost 40 years.  FORTY FUCKING YEARS.  And the worst part is that he is cool, and funny, and hella smart.  And did I mention funny?  And only NOW am I getting a chance to know that.  And I hate that.  And over the past four or five years I haven’t been much of a crier.  I haven’t had any reason for tears.  Sometimes I have to actually watch a sad movie if I know I need a good cry because I simply don’t have anything to cry about.  But now- NOW I cry often.  I get teary for all sorts of reason.  I get teary when I see Tia and Tio (auntie and uncle in spanish- what #4 calls them) on video chat working with #4 on his spanish.  I get teary knowing they are so far away and that I don’t even know when we will see them again.  I get teary writing this post.  I’m a damn faucet.  But it’s good, it’s healing happening, and even though I’m sad and so damn angry, I’m also hopeful.  And so damn grateful for that trip.  And for them.

 

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I guess the problem is, when I was young and my life consisted of my parents and my brother, that was all I knew.  But as a mother- a person blessed to raise and guide and influence and love and cherish these four incredible boys- I am horribly saddened by my childhood.  I simply hadn’t really thought about it before- which I know sounds ridiculous.  But I had buried it and moved on, and considered myself all the better for doing so.  But I wasn’t better- I was BURYING IT – and all that is is a festering wound that never heals and gets infected and one day that infection gets so bad that you have the choice of either treating it or letting it destroy you.

I’m starting therapy.  I need it- I probably always have.  I can’t do confrontation.  At all.  It terrifies me and makes me physically ill.  I can’t even talk to someone who works for us if there is an issue that needs resolution for fear of someone getting upset with me.  What the hell?  So yes, therapy seems like a good idea.  Because if you say something about me, endlessly, I won’t confront you- but talk smack about my kids and I will TAKE. YOU. DOWN.  I need to take you down in defense of me.  Because I’m worth it.  We all are.

 I’m sure there is so much more I wanted to tell you, but then again I really didn’t plan on telling you this much.  But it’s healing, and it’s a start.  And it’s time- I need to start.

Pretty pictures, no?  It was outstanding- gorgeous in a tropical non-tourist blue water white buildings palm trees and cactus and lots of sunshine sort of way.  And we loved it.  Every single minute.  (and the black dolphins!  how can I forget #4 being in the water a mere 30 feed from black dolphins playing in the surf???)

(and I wish I could show you a photo of #4′s face when he sees photos of his Tio- there is such joy and excitement there, even though he misses him mucho.  thank goodness for video chat…)

 

x

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24 Responses to {mexico} and going forward

  1. mel says:

    healing. yes, yes you are. and my friend, you are one of the wisest souls i know, and i simply love you for your open heart and caring spirit.

  2. Imen says:

    You are grieving the time lost…..leave the faucet on sweetie =) Find a wonderful therapist, if the first choice isn’t a perfect fit, find a new one. Therapy is like a weekly spa treatment that heals the inside too. Sending big hugs and loving intentions from abroad xx

  3. Lori says:

    Heavy yes ~ good heavy though ~ I love you my friend. xoxo

  4. kimberly says:

    I am so blessed to have such amazing friends- thank you.

  5. Peggy says:

    Oh sweet Kimberly, I love you…. your honesty, your openness, your steps to healing. Do you mind if I pray for you and your journey?

  6. Pam says:

    love what Imen said…”therapy is like a weekly spa treatment that heals the inside”..probably the one thing i miss about back home..my therapist! i do hope that as you share, you heal.
    i was also a hot mess back then. dropped out of college, lived all over the place..but i eventually found my way. i have no regrets..i went through everything for a reason.
    so happy that you and your brother are closer. and what a fabulous place they live in!! hugs to you my friend.
    xo
    p.s…paypal worked!, finally! :)

  7. Janet Sears says:

    I too have recently thought about my life and the choices I made as a teen. Some, most, were so wrong. I have many regrets. Yet I am thankful that my path led me to where I am now. Not a perfect life, not even close. But each mistake and decision led me to who I am. Like stepping stones, or more like a wobbly wooden bridge….Thank you for being so brave and being able to put it in words. Sending a big teary hug!

  8. Patty Green says:

    Kimberly,what a beautiful story! I can understand how healing, yet painful, it is to bring all this to the surface. But as you said, this is the beginning. I had a brother, nine years older, who seemingly was never around after I turned 4 or 5… I do understand.

    Thank you so much for sharing. I think this will bring many of us to the reality that there are things that need to be fixed or at least opened up…

    <3

  9. Sam says:

    It’s not too late to make new memories and to be a major part of each other’s lives like you used to be. As painful as it was for you to write I enjoyed reading this as I too had a troubled childhood and feel that talking about it either makes people look down on me or that I’m being dramatic. My mother, who had a good upbringing, was well educated with a great career became an alcoholic when I was in my teens. I’m the oldest of three children so the burden fell on me to take care of my younger brother and sister. We’ve never held this against my mother and have always tried to be loving and supportive but because of her own demons she is a very bitter and often unpleasant person. What we are thankful for is that if we hadn’t gone through so much together we wouldn’t be as close as we now are. We also are determined that our kids are totally loved and cared for no matter what. In a way we are probably better parents and siblings than we may have otherwise have been. Ironically my mother had a very bad fall 8 weeks ago and can’t return home yet so spends half the week with me and half with my sister (our brother lives in Spain). It’s been good for us all as I think she finally realises what she’s missed out on all these years! She is driving me nuts though so I hope she gets better soon! Sorry to hog your comments but I just wanted to thank you for your post and to say that your future starts now and you’ve got plenty of time to enjoy your brother now (all you get from looking back is a crick in the neck!!).
    Take care and hope the counselling works,
    Sam x

  10. Neal Hallford says:

    Hi Kimberly,

    I always enjoy your posts, but I have to say this is actually one of my favorites because you let the rest of us in on the real you. Not that I would ever want you to have any of this pain, but because I’m hoping that maybe this is part of helping you to resolve it. That’s why they call therapy “the talking cure”. Sometimes you have to tell someone something before it makes any sense to you. By trying to explain it, you find that you see things in a different light.

    In a lot of ways I had exactly the opposite childhood that you did. My brother and I got along fabulously. When I was sixteen, he came home from a construction job he’d been working all summer and asked me if I wanted to take a trip with him to Europe. He didn’t take a girlfriend, he didn’t take one of his high school friends, he took his geeky weirdo brother, and we had the adventure of a lifetime.

    Unfortunately, those times didn’t last for us. Shortly after I got to junior college, he married someone that the rest of the family hated. I got stuck in between he and my parents as they started a civil war, and a lot of times I ended up being the go-between who had no interest in playing sides, but I didn’t have a choice to just give up everyone I loved.

    About the time I graduated from college, he divorced the woman he’d married, and we tried to rebuild our relationship. But very shortly thereafter I got the job that took me to LA and got me into the games industry, and my brother took it hard. Over time, as he stayed in Oklahoma he grew more and more conservative politically, while I stayed pretty much the long-haired idealist that he’d made in his own image. He began to accuse me of letting California “change me”, even though he was the one who was moving away from who we’d been as kids.

    When I got engaged to Jana, it got even worse, and he pretty much opened warfare on her, thought it was a passive aggressive war. He didn’t like her friends, he criticized the way she exercised her faith. he wanted her to conform to the family way of viewing things. In short, he tried to inflict on us exactly the same kind of grief that my parents had inflicted on him. It got to the point that we couldn’t even communicate. At one point a year and a half went by that I simply refused any kind of contact because it stressed me out so badly.

    Unfortunately, like you, I’m not good with confrontation. I’m not very good at standing up for myself. It’s probably at least partially why I’ve sort of found myself at the end of the career I had for twenty three years. I spent so much time fighting with him I literally lost the will to try standing up for myself in ANY arena. I can’t even begin to explain how absolutely corrosive that the collapse of that relationship has been for me, but you at least have an idea, having gone through what you have.

    I’m really happy that you get this second chance to try again. It’s awesome that he loves your kids, and that the spouse gets along with you. I know you’ve lost forty years with him — that isn’t inconsequential — but at least be comforted by the fact that that door is open, and you have an opportunity to build something with him. That is so, so incredible, and I wish you all the happiness and healing that you both deserve.

    Be well my dear friend,
    Neal

    • simone says:

      Can I just say that I really appreciated reading this Neal….what a well written, thoughtful & kind response. Reading about the experience of others is sometimes the absolute best way to put our own experiences into context & to try to begin to understand them….it makes you realise that pretty much everyone has their own “stuff” & we’re all just getting on with it the best we can.
      Best wishes to you
      Simone

  11. simone says:

    Loved reading this Kim. I completely understand so much of this, in particular the bit about only you & your brother being able to understand your childhood & stuff that happened, that’s my brother & I totally.

    My brothers & I were – and still are to some extent – divided by circumstances that were beyond our control….damage was done & often it is really really hard to overcome that.

    It is very difficult to put things right and back together….it sounds as though it is the right time for both of you to do that, timing is everything sometimes, maybe you would not have been able to do it sooner, for whatever reason. The main thing is that you are doing it now & hopefully the only direction is forward.

    So glad that it was such a wonderful trip for you, in so many ways Xx

  12. Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm says:

    Oh, Kimberly…thank you, thank you.

    This post is beyond touching and beautiful as are the photos accompanying it. I am moved by all the magnificent life-changing love here: you, your brother, his wife/your sister, and your sons.

    It is never too late, let this be a lesson for us all. So grateful the next 40 years did not slip by without this cherished part of your family, grateful you have inspired me to take a look at how I can be a better sister to my remaining siblings. Thank you.

  13. paige says:

    oh kim.
    my goodness. i bet your heart is just blown away blessed by your time but also so tender trying to process through all the stuff over FORTY years. my goodness.
    family relationships…heck so many relationships….are just so complex. and we’re so hyper sensitive to each other. well. it seems that way in our home.
    friend, what a BRAVE time for you. all of it. the travel, the healing, the working through, the love, the all of it…just brave.
    thank you for sharing your heart.
    he sounds like an amazing man, as is his wife.
    so thankful you had this beautiful time.
    and black dolphins? sounds like heaven!
    blessings my friend
    xo

  14. Tina says:

    Kimberly, what a great post. Great for the content yes….. but great for so much more! First, I “met” you through Jeanne’s course and have followed your blog since. But THIS post? Man, gut honest— I am bowled over by that. I’m not sure where you drug up the courage to post this raw and real post but it makes me feel so very less than real when I do the same. Perhaps you have empowered me. I can tend not to speak as I might normally for the ‘fear’ of it. Your post was brave, without fear and bright as the sun!

    Secondly, your brother vs. time wasted. Many of us have periods of time that seem like empty holes, especially when we look back. One thing I know is that nothing is more important than what we hold in our hand. And when we pick up something from that ‘wasted’ past we hold it in our hand that is carved and shaped and printed with the life we have now. We imprint the past with the wisdom of our age and it all becomes softer and better and we with it hopefully wiser.

    Mostly I wanted to say THANK YOU for reminding me that as a community we need to bring it all, everything we are— down to the core. You’ve definitely inspired me. Great post! GREAT fucking post!!!

  15. oh, i am crying. tears of anger (for my own childhood… & for ryan’s… both similar in so many ways)… tears of sadness (for you)… but most importantly tears of JOY. because you know what? there is HOPE. it is simply NOT too late for you… for your relationship… for healing… for growth… you are open to it. YOU ARE READY FOR IT.

  16. & can i tell you again how much i love you for your authentic spirit? i do.

  17. Tami says:

    I had some crappy times in my childhood, the teen years were worse, and I have recently started therapy. It’s not fun digging through it but I want to affirm your decision to start. My only suggestion, for what’s it’s worth, set aside time after your session to unpack what just happened in private.

    Thank you for your willingness to share! It has blessed my morning.

  18. What a similar path we have taken…or been made to take. Your story to me is so inspiring because I admire your bravery, your ability to be open and honest, and your similarity to me. As I was reading sections of your writing, I thought I could have been writing there along side of you a similar story. What hit me the most is what I have been struggling with lately too…what a waste to have such disconnect with our siblings, parents, etc. My situation is beyond repair and I struggle daily to come to terms with that but seeing the ability of segments of your childhood come together again in a more positive way…well, it makes my heart sing with happiness for you. I, too, have a brother (18 mos older) who is reaching out and trying to process our childhood, probably for the first time. It is painful to see how much we were forced to adapt and cope as children and we both marvel that we are alive and well today and can form a relationship only the two of can understand. I’m rambling now, but again, your bravery to look your past in the eye and turn your future into something different is so beautiful.

    • kimberly says:

      I love this Sarah but am so sad that you too know what it feels like to be an adult struggling with your childhood baggage. It is inspiring however to see that even though you dealt with challenges as I did, you are doing such amazing things with your life. Thank you my friend, for your words and sharing a bit of your heart. x

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