Normally even when talking about my siblings I refrain from using gender indicators. That’s mostly because I have a creative set of siblings who may themselves one day wish to start blogging and might, like me, want to keep themselves wholly anonymous. But with my brother R, I am 99% sure he will never pick up the Hansen alias. He’s not got the same creative skill set as the rest of us and this kind of thing would never appeal to him.
R is about 9 years older than me so there’s quite an age gap between us. I’m told he looked after me a lot when I was a baby but other than that we have never had what I would describe as a particularly close relationship. I haven’t actually even seen him in a few years. This is for two reasons. One, he’s a bit of a dullard in conversation and even though, like the rest of us, he is heavily into his video games, he plays them very differently. Playing them with R just sucks all the fun out of it because he takes it all too seriously. He does not realise this however, so I avoid him online and try not to let him notice me in game.
The second reason for our estranged relationship is his choice of girlfriend. It’s nothing too scandalous just that she’s a gold digger who is leading him on a merry run around. Her personality is also really quite abrasive and she successfully rubbed every single one of us up the wrong way when she met us. R is a good guy and he’s loyal so he’s also a great boyfriend. Doesn’t matter how many times my parents have told him that she’s no good, he will not listen. My Dad now refuses to talk to R until he’s ditched her and Mum avoids the topic so that the door is always open for him, should things turn sour or he comes to his senses.
I should mention R is very socially awkward, finds it hard to talk around girls he thinks are attractive. As we aren’t close it’s not something we talked about much but I don’t think he had many girlfriends before this one. I think she knows just how much of a hold she has over him.
No matter how dull I find conversation with my brother I know he has all the qualities required to make a great dad. He’s also, finally, mentally ready to have kids. But I know, my family knows, and I think in his heart R knows, his girlfriend is done with kids. She’s had two, one of which has had a kid. So she’s a grandmother now, she’s not having kids. But she keeps making him think there’s a chance, she keeps letting him believe he’s going to start a family with her. He’s bought her a house, moved to a different country for her and looks after her (frankly not quite all there) daughter.
So the question is, how can I be a good sibling? What does my brother need more, the brutally honest truth or someone to let him do what he wants? There’s plenty of advice for parents out there, let your children make their own mistakes yada yada yada. But what about siblings? Although I’m not terrible with the spoken word, the written word is my strength. Would a letter, filled with all the sibling love I can muster, change his mind and set him on a path better suited to what he wants from life? Because Hansen’s are loyal, ridiculously so. Whether I like him or not, whether we speak frequently or not, whether he’s in another country or not, he’s my brother. And I want good things for him.
I suspect I already know the answer to all these questions, but you’re reading my blog so I know you’re smart… what would you do? Be supportive or help him fix his mistakes?