I Could Write A Book On This

May 31, 2009 § Leave a comment

This summer break at home, I can hardly contain my contempt for my brother. He’s rude, ungrateful and undisciplined. We usually have an amiable relationship — I love Larry to pieces — but this time around, I can’t stnad him. This is, I believe, partly due to his impending adolescence; he’s becoming the moody teenager that he’s bound to be for the next five years.

I have realized that although he and I have been through many of the same family struggles, there are aspects to our personalities and upbringings that are fundamentally different. In regards to upbringing, the one major difference lies in my mother, since my dad’s role in childrearing has been minimal at best.

When I was younger [and this still applies, for the most part], I was scared shitless of my mom. One time in elementary school in Downer’s Grove, she came to the bus stop to pick me up after school, which was rather unusual. Being the impressionable young child that I was, I tried impressing the older kids by implementing a new word I had learned. “Oh, there’s my dang mom.” They laughed, and repeated this to my mother as we all exited the bus.

She didn’t know what the word meant, and truth be told, I didn’t really know either, but I was certain that it wasn’t something good and so I was unwilling to reveal anything. She sat me at the table and yelled at me until I was crying, and even dragged our neighbor kid into it [he was a couple years older than me and not afraid to snitch on me]. The whole ordeal scarred me so much that I still haven’t forgotten it.

In contrast, every time my mother asks Larry a question or tries to tell him anything, his automatic response is, “Shut up, mom” or “You’re an idiot, mom.” She just ignores the insolent comments. What the hell?! If those words ever came out of my mouth, she would have literally kicked me out of the house. It makes me angry to see my brother being so rude to his mother, but it makes me just as mad to see him get away with it.

I cant’ tell if my mom has completely given up on him or if she’s just mellowed out in general. I foster hopes that it’s the latter, but the past few times I’ve been hom from school, she certainly wasn’t shy about yelling at me when I missed my [ridiculous] 11PM curfew, so I suspect she’s just favoring my brother. When I say favoring, of course, that’s just my own bias coming into play —  this situation isn’t black and white, and obviously if I’m the more obedient child, she’s going to exert more control over me [despite the 7-year age difference]. But that doesn’t make it any more fair in my eyes.

Another major difference is his utter lack of deference. When I was younger, I was afraid to ask for anything: candy, clothes, a ride to the mall. Not only did we have much less disposable income back then, my mom always said no. I was not really allowed to go anywhere my own two feet could not carry me. That fear of asking for things still lingers, extending to anybody I encounter. I didn’t begin regaining my confidence until college, but even now, I’d rather just leave the house wordlessly than actually tell my mom about my plans.

Larry, on the other hand, never asks for anything but demands everything. He’s worn $60 basketball jerseys since he was six. Now he wears $50 hoodies and shoes — brand name, of course, because that’s the only thing he wears [his clothes are more expensive than mine!]. My mother coddles him, offering him this and that — Coldstone’s ice cream? Starbucks pastries? to which he answers with indifferent grunts. He has a bookshelf full of hardcover books my parents bought for him, only half of which he has read. I only ever got library books, but I used to devour one 300+ page book a day when I was his age.

Part of the problem is that he’s been offered too much, and as a result, he’s a lazy, entitled brat. This isn’t to say that he’s never had hardships, of course, but his sufferings have never been material, that’s for sure. And while I am now old enough to appreciate my parents having immigrated to America with literally nothing, he hasn’t lived long enough to care.

I think about Larry a lot when I’m at home. He comes up in many of the conversations between my mother and me, which is sad considering most of the time I’m complaining that my brother has as much — if not more — freedom as I do. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?! It’s difficult to hide my disgust with the whole situation. I don’t know how to be a good sister anymore; we used to talk, but now the only things he directs are me are insults. It infuriates me, and I generally ignore his presence completely when our family is having dinner or riding in the car. Sadly, this is easier than I expected.

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