Oops I did it again

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I neglected my blog. Sorry blog! Sorry readers! (because according to my stats page there are still amazingly enough at least a few people who check this blog every day!) But that’s not really what the oops is about. It’s about my shithead brother.

But before I go into that, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who commented on my last post! Your comments really made me feel so much better about everything. Things in the milk production department are much better, although Amelie is still not gaining weight like she should be. I’m not sure why and neither is the midwife, but at least we know that it’s not because I’m not producing. The midwife even said that Amelie is a happy baby, she has lots of wet diapers, she’s on target or early with all of her milestones, and she is not officially underweight, so nothing to get my knickers twisted about, and if I were a friend of mine listening to me telling me the exact same thing, I would tell me there is nothing to worry about. So much harder to do that when it is happening to your own child, but I am going to do my best to not let it worry me until there seems to really be something to worry about.

I suppose the whole reason I haven’t been blogging is that there really hasn’t been that much to blog about. No exciting news or anything, and although Amelie pretty much sleeps through the night, I still wake up exhausted EVERY day! Seriously I don’t know the last time I felt well rested, but I think that is just a part of being a mom to two small children. So I try to nap when I can, but Amelie is a crap daytime sleeper. She’ll only sleep for 20 minutes at a time or so, unless I am laying down with her, which is fine by me most of the time because I want to sleep too, but it means there is not a lot of time for me to blog without ignoring her.

So about my shithead brother. I’m not sure that I mentioned he didn’t send anything when Amelie was born, and I don’t mean a present, I mean an e-mail, a card, any recognition at all that he had a new niece.  In all fairness, all I sent was an e-mail to him congratulating him on the birth of his daughter when she was born last August, and had to hear about it through my parents. Not even an e-mail to say his wife had given birth. And then I sent him a separate e-mail telling him I was done making any effort because I was the only one doing it, and I am sick of the way he treats his family and blah, blah, blah and somehow he never got it. When I was in Chicago last year, my mom made me speak to my brother on the phone which was the most awkward 10 minutes of my life.  I made no effort after that to keep in touch.

Then March 11 happened and my brother e-mailed me all worried.  So I e-mailed him back to tell him I was okay, and he never got that e-mail either. But for some reason I allowed that e-mail to give me hope that my brother actually had an interest in maintaining a relationship with me and my family. So I e-mailed him on his birthday, which was Father’s day, to wish him a happy birthday and Father’s day (despite the fact that my birthday came and went a month earlier without any contact from him), and I mentioned again that I thought it would be nice if his children could grow up knowing their only cousins, which can be achieved through Skype, and I also attached the latest family photo we took and said that I would really like to see a recent photo of his kids. The last photo I saw of his daughter was on a blog his wife started writing when she was born and hasn’t updated since the baby was 2 months old. She is now 10 months old. That is the last photo my parents have seen of her as well. My nephew will be 4 in August and I haven’t seen a photo of him since well before he turned 3. I also mentioned that I have been living in Japan nearly 14 years now, and wouldn’t it be nice if they came to visit me, just once. Awhile ago when we had the same discussion, my brother’s excuse was that I never visited them in Arizona, so I went and visited them when my nephew was born. The trip was pretty awful for me as they are the most socially clueless people in the world. I didn’t expect anyone to cook for me, or even offer me a glass of water, considering my nephew was still only about 5 weeks old, BUT most of the time all 3 of them holed up in the bedroom so I spent a lot of time alone watching TV in the living room or reading in the guest room. I nearly missed my flight to Chicago because my brother was supposed to take me to the airport, but was holed up in the bedroom for so long that I had to finally knock on the door and tell him that if he wasn’t going to come out, could he at least call me a cab.

So I know they have no social skills at all, but I stupidly continue to carry this flicker of a hope that my brother has some desire to maintain contact with his family. His response was something along the lines of “Thank you. That’s a nice photo. We can’t come to visit you this year because our new house will be finished in late July, but you’re always welcome to visit us.” Maybe I’m reading more into the whole response than I should, but there was no mention of, I’ll send you a photo soon, or later or I’ll get onto the Skype thing right away because it really would be nice for our kids to grow up knowing each other.  And what is this about their house being finished in July? I had no idea they were even building a house. Wh They just finished remodeling their current house! My brother and his wife make at least 5 times what Akinori and I do. Not that I even suggested they come out and visit us THIS year, but they could certainly afford to come out and visit us a lot more than we can afford to go and visit them.

I haven’t replied to my brother because I don’t know what to say. I can’t be in touch with him without getting really, really upset. It makes me really sad that my niece and nephew are going to grow up without the knowledge that they have another set of grandparents and an uncle and aunt and cousins who love them, and it makes me sad that my own children are going to grow up and not know their American uncle and aunt or cousins. I guess I just have to wait until the kids are a little older and can use Facebook or whatever, and keep in touch with them directly. That’s the only solution I can see because trying to maintain a relationship breaks my heart every single time I make an effort. I gotta stop doing this t0 myself!

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About Brenda in Nagano

Originally from Chicago, I knew I was destined to spend the rest of my life in Japan the moment I set foot in the country at the tender age of 16. However, I was quite intent on spending that rest of my life in a major city with a full on career, until my Japanese Prince Charming came trotting down from the mountains of Nagano to sweep me off my feet and whisk me away, turning my whole life plan on its head. Two months after moving to Nagano I gave birth to our little Princess Charming, so now I am officially a SAHM and teach a little belly dance on the side.

8 responses »

  1. I am so sorry to hear about things with your brother. It is dissapointing. I have been bugging my sister to set up regular skype dates with us and her girls each week but it seems like our skype dates slways take a back seat to their plans and outings. I feel like such a drag that it is always me bugging her to set things up. It is so heartbreaking to feel like you are the only one making efforts. If it were just you involved you could suck it up and deal with it maybe, but it is extra tough to deal with when the kids are involved and missing out. Mio doesn’t have any counsins in japan so i wish she could have more contact with my sister’s girls. She adores them. So I know how you feel a but. It is si dissapointing. I wish I had an answer for you. But sadly all I can do is send ((((((hugs))))).

  2. Aw, I’m sorry you’re having to deal with that kind of crap. There definitely comes a point when you have to decide that you’ve done all you can do, and nothing’s going to change. If all a person brings to your life is sadness and grief, it’s perfectly okay put some distance between you and them. I’ve done more than my fair share of cutting toxic people out of my life. You have to think of yourself and your family’s happiness first.

    That doesn’t mean you can’t still have contact w/ your niece and nephew. I’d say continue sending cards/presents on their b-day, X-mas, etc, continue sending pix of your family to your brother (but w/out expecting anything at all in return), so that when the kids are old enough to communicate w/ you on their own, you won’t be a stranger to them and they’ll know you love them.

    Whatever you decide to do, I know it will be what’s best for you and your family!

    • Thanks Bryn! I think that is excellent advice, and I think that is just what I am going to do. I need to try and forget about having a relationship with my brother and work on protecting the possibility of a relationship with his kids in the future.

  3. So sorry that you have to go through this with your brother. It may be harder since you have a small family…. he’s the only other one to share things with and he isn’t cooperating.

    There are 6 in my family, and I have to say that I haven’t been good about the birthdays and holidays etc. I call my mother a couple of times a month, and she is the central command post…. everyone calls her and she dispatches everyone’s news.

    My kids were small before the age of Skype etc., so there weren’t any alternatives. My sister came for the first time for a wedding last year, and she said that she never realized that Japan was so far.. she thought that the flight would never end, and she realized for the first time how hard it was for me to travel so far with children for so many years. (so I think that there is a lack of understanding on family’s part of expat’s needs to stay in close touch and share, since we are far away and can’t share in regular holiday activities.)

    But all that being said, when I did go home with the kids, everyone would stop what they were doing and gather round. My mother and father would rent some cabins in the mountains every summer and we would all spend a week together having fun. The kids made great memories there, so possibly in the future when your kids are older, there will be chances to develop closer ties. I imagine that it is really hard when you keep reaching out and there is no reaction. I hope that you can work something out. Nancy Tsurumaki

    • Thanks Nancy! I’m envious that there are 6 in your family. Even if you didn’t necessarily get along with one particular sibling, there must have always been someone else around to hang out with, or pour your heart out to. I’ve always envied and admired large families, part of the reason why I want at least 3 of my own. I think if there were more siblings, I definitely wouldn’t care as much what my brother did or didn’t do.But that’s the problem, isn’t it, ME caring. Gotta learn to stop doing that so much.

  4. I am so sorry you are having these issues with your brother. I understand that you want your girls to have a relationship with their American family but to be honest if it causing you this much stress then maybe step back, take a break and try again in six months. In the mean time your brother might surprise you and get in contact first.

    Also sorry to hear Amelie is having weight gain issues. Hopefully since she is a happy baby and reaching her milsetones that it is nothing to worry about except that she will be a bit on the “small” side. At least at first!

  5. Thanks Lulu. Honestly, I doubt my brother will ever change. He has never been interested in our family really. He was so worried in the e-mail he sent me after March 11, that I thought maybe he realized what he and his children would be missing out on if something had happened to our family, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. And if something like that doesn’t open your eyes, I doubt very much that anything will. But if he does somehow wake up and smell the coffee, I will be waiting here with open arms.

    Amelie isn’t underweight yet, so I’m not really all that worried. She is actually on the tall side for her age, just skinny, but so was (is) Sara. I think it’s just DNA really. You wouldn’t know it from looking at me now, but I was sickly skinny until I was about 17. If we never weighed Amelie, I wouldn’t even know she wasn’t gaining all that much, nor would I worry, but I know so I worry.

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