Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Family Dilemma

 
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Something's been bugging me lately.  I feel I ought to invite my brother and his family to visit.  It's never been easy to plan - they live in the UK, we live in Cape Town, the seasons and the school holidays don't mesh very well. The only time in 37 years that they did come, the weather in Cape Town was absolutely miserable for the duration of their visit. We had to go and shop for warm clothes for the children. The thing is: none of us has anything in common so it's difficult to know how to spend any time together. When I was young, my brother (six years younger) was pretty quiet and spent all his time in a shed down the garden, constructing electrical circuits, radios and suchlike.  My father would be developing photographs in his dark room, or gardening. My mother would be ensconced in her private eyrie/sewing room, listening to Afternoon theatre (not to be disturbed) and I would be in my bedroom: reading.  We barely communicated. My mother and I did share some interests, but we didn't really 'talk', not like they do today. I respected my parents but my brother was in a separate world. Nothing changed after I left home. As I student, I used to phone home and my mother would say, "Here's M - have a chat with him" and pass over the phone. Mostly silence ensued, once I had run out of small talk and he would pass the phone back to my mom.  Now that his children are grown and out of the house, I feel I should invite them again. Now that both my parents have died, I have not been back. I used to go and help out once a year, sometimes twice but now that our currency is so badly devalued, I can't manage a trip without a really good reason. I also have little in common with my sister-in-law except that we both used to teach French. Most years, they went to France for their holidays.  Well, it's much cheaper than coming here. The thing is we don't 'miss' each other. It's enough to know that everyone is well and financially OK. Should I invite them again?  I feel I must for my mother's sake. My brother doesn't even like holidays. My sister-in-law loves hiking, but I don't think he does. Oh dear, what would you do?

8 comments:

  1. The trouble with those great distances is that you can't easily get away with just a short visit. I would go ahead and invite them, maybe hoping that they will decline (!)

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  2. Aside from hoping that he does not read your blog, I would invite him unless you are sure that you will both be bored stiff.

    Have you ever considered setting up a regular Skype session with him? I am certainly no one to criticize, I hardly ever see my relatives. Pretty much funerals as I don't show for weddings.

    It is a shame in some ways, I guess as adults we all start to journey in our own orbits.

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    1. Fortunately, both my brother and his wife have no interest in blogging. I am absolutely sure they will never see this post. My brother does like to SKype - perhaps once in six months. We had an appointment for last week, for which I cancelled my PIlates class - and then he did not answer my call. Told me later he got the time wrong.

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  3. Could you invite them to go on a vacation to a neutral place and meet you there? Someplace that might have something interesting for everyone?

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    1. That's quite a tall order considering our disparate interests. Also, it would have to be geographically somewhere in Europe which is not an option at the moment. Still, as my conscience continues to bug me, I expect I will invite them -as soon as my husband has retired and can assist on the 'social' side.

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  4. Your relationship with your brother sounds much like myself and my sister, except that we live much closer (about 8 hours away). We haven't spoken since my Dad's funeral 6 years ago, as we have nothing in common and no real desire to be in contact. We do "keep in touch" through a cousin who visits both of us.

    It used to bother me, until I realized that we would never have been friends in other circumstances so I don't feel guilty that we aren't close just because we are family.

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    1. I am so intrigued and relieved to hear this.

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  5. Sorry, but to meet your brother and sister is a good reason enough to spend money to do something. Maybe, too much time has passed away without a real action of love. Sorry again I do not want to hurt you but JUST DO SOMETHING. Life is very short and we have to do something for the people we love. Go to where your heart carries you (vai dove ti porta il cuore) ... Hi - Alex55

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