Since my last post, I have finished up my Fall 2011 semester and have come home to visit my parents for the holidays. I once again must apologize for such a post since it is not often that I actually talk about personal problems, but like the last time I felt compelled to write such a post, the act of doing so helped my mind sort out a few things. Of course, such posts remain on the site because my blog is but a stage on which my life is on display, and I welcome any opinions my dear readers may care to add.
In many ways, visiting home from time to time after being away to study allows one to gain perspective about their lot in life. One gets an idea about how close they are to becoming a fully independent adult. One gets a portrait of how life is affected without their presence. One gets a reaffirmation about how they are perceived by the ones who matter most– family.
In preparation for my arrival, my bedroom was cleaned, my favorite foods made, and my clothes neatly placed in the closet. A portrait of me was hung above my bed. As I came through the door after 6 and a half months of being away, I could sense that my parents and brother had put effort into preparing my rooms to be reanimated upon my arrival. While I do not consciously think about it, perhaps deep down inside I am a little afraid that they might forget about me when focusing on their own lives; noting the complete contrary certainly felt good. When I went back to my car to grab my drink, I noticed that my brother had taken my luggage upstairs upon reentering.
I have had a lot of chances to reflect on my brother’s behavior and demeanor towards me. At first, I was still a little resentful of his academic life especially when I saw that he had pulled out half of my old assignments so that he could have “examples” as to how to approach his present work. The fact that he has that typical dismissive high schooler personality these days also clashed quite a bit with my (comparatively) more professional and collected manner of doing things. While it was hard to read him since half the time he is playing with his friends on the computer, I soon began to see, or rather feel the manner in which he regarded me.
When I looked through my closet, I noticed a few clothes that were not there when I left. One of my new tops was a Portal 2 T-shirt with a large print of Atlus and P-Body, something I knew for a fact that I did not have before. (Quite honestly, most of my clothes lack designs.) After asking him about it, he said that he saw the shirt at the mall and showed it to my mother since he thought I would like it. I was a little taken aback, but I was thankful– we just usually don’t do these things for each other and him doing something so small was a big deal to me. Aside from that episode, I began to notice that there were a number of unspoken rules at play. When we would drive some place, it was silently understood that I would be the driver. He would offer to take my dishes downstairs for me. I was still the leader, not someone downgraded to be a follower.
Perhaps this is what I felt threatened and afraid of all along– to no longer fit his perception of an older sibling. I mean, all the mistakes made in raising me are corrected for him and he is taller than me… I just don’t want him to start thinking of me any less due to these changes. People who are familiar with me know that I value manners, respect, and etiquette a great deal. My brother’s behavior towards me made me grateful that I had not been forgotten or belittled– he still saw me as someone to look up to.
Aside from my brother, recent news has further convinced me to not worry about petty squabbles such as my previous post and to focus more on our familial cohesion. (My family here in the US is but a nuclear one without any extended relatives.) My grandparents are sick and its getting close to thirteen years since my parents visited them. My grand parents live really far away in the old country, a place where running water is sometimes not even a guarantee. My father told me their plans to visit them almost apologetically. You see, these days the country in which my grandparents live is a dangerous place, enough for me to be a little concerned about my parents wellbeing on their trip there. I agreed without hesitation however. I can say with certainty that it is important to visit one’s parents, especially in such situations.
It is not so much because my brother has been on my mind that influenced me to conclude this. What really made me feel strongly about this decision was the perspective I got upon visiting here. The perspective of my parents. Next year when my brother leaves to go to college, my parents will be on the empty nest stage of their life– both their children have gone to live elsewhere. From then on, my mother and father will live together while going about their daily lives… The upstairs, where my brother and my rooms are, will be quiet. The holidays will become an important and cherished time for the household– my brother and I will come home to be reunited with our parents and we will be able to enjoy each other’s company once more. And well… I guess I’ve never experienced anything like that before. It sounds wonderful though.
After contemplating all of this, my initial worries seem unprecedented and minor in comparison. Everyone here is dealing with changes, but all is well.