September 14, 2008

Brothers, Fathers, and Sons...

Had a great visit today with my oldest son and his mom. They flew up from Miami to Richmond, to attend my step-daughters wedding. I hear that, while a little hot at the venue selected, it was a grand affair, and to backpedal a little (to my previous post), not only did her dad show up, but I understand 40 of the rooms at the Homewood Suites in Innsbrook, were filled with family and out of town guests at the auspicious event...

My son had called a few weeks back to let me know he was planning on attending, and asked if I wanted to get together Sunday or Monday... Of course, I said I would arrange for the time off so that we could spend the afternoon together. I got up around 6 this morning with some anticipation. We haven't seen each other since the last ski vacation we took as a family two weeks before my heart attack in 2005. We talk over the phone and or email, but still not the same as seeing each other... I haven't seen his mom since Christmas of 1999...

Anyway, after waking with some butterflies in my stomach, I watched the news, had a cup of coffee, took a shower, and called him around 9:30. I told him it was a 1.5-2 hour drive and that I would call him when I arrived. The hotel is the same one Circuit City put me when I was relocating from Miami in 1999, so I knew exactly where it was. When I pulled up, I called my son and he told me they would meet me in the lobby in a couple of minutes. I walked in and was just kind of looking around when someone said something that I didn't quite understand, it didn't sound like my son or his mom so I really paid no mind. I am still not sure what the person was saying, because as it was repeated, I turned around to see my brother (from Atlanta) and jumped with both shock and surprise....

My initial reaction was, of course, happiness and I was a little perplexed. I hadn't seen him since his daughters wedding in Indiana (and certainly had no knowledge of him being in Richmond). I was put in an awkward position at that event, He and our youngest brother had some sort of misunderstanding prior to it, and I ended up playing man-in-the-middle, agreeing, disagreeing, offering insight, and still trying to remain neutral... It didn't work very well, but they seemed to finally have ironed things out.
The brother standing in the lobby of this Richmond hotel and I grew up sharing the same room. He has been there for me, and I for him, through a lot of childhood dramas. He is also the one that reacted completely opposite of how I thought he would, when I came out. His wife and mine had built a close friendship and I honestly believe his reaction to my leaving and "outing" myself was influenced by his wife. I thought he would be totally accepting of me, and he has only become more distant in the years since. In talking to family, I found out (after the fact) that he and his wife had come up to Richmond earlier in the year to spend time with my ailing wife, and my kids. Knowing his wife's relationship with mine, I just blew it off... Now again, he makes a trip from Atlanta to Richmond and makes no prior attempt to get together for a beer, dinner or anything. My son didn't even know his uncle was coming until they ran into each other at the hotel.

Anyway, when my son and his mom come down, we all share hugs and start chatting, I see my brother indicate to my ex that he will be back down, and to just have a seat in the lobby and wait. (No offense here, but I don't remember putting him in charge of the itinerary for the moment)... I find out that he is here with his son (who I would really like to see) and his wife, so I swallow the lump backing up in my throat.

The three of them come down from their room and again we do the family hugs and air kisses. We all sit down and chat for a bit, and then it's announced that it is time for them to leave for the airport and "How great it's been to see you"... I was so offended, and really didn't realize it until later in the day.... This was not about them!

My son, his mom, and I toured Richmond a little and settled on Bottoms Up Pizza, down in Shokoe Bottom, for lunch... I had a couple of Bloody Marys to calm my nerves. All in all a wonderful day with the two of them (If you're reading this, thanks, I had a great time).

I have always considered family first and foremost (well, after me, of course). That family has always included steps, in-laws, half's, etc... But blood family is even closer. They should never turn their backs on each other. Not ever!

All I see is your back, my brother!!

Over and "Out" from back home, in Chesapeake, VA


Anonymous said...


You know that I have always admired your family life and what you have with them.


manxxman said...


I'm glad you had a good visit (will I'm assuming it was a good visit with your son and your ex). As far as your brother goes, it would appear that he doesn't want to rock the boat with his wife and as you aren't in his life as much as she is. I have a brother, who when I called all of my 5 siblings and came out to them, said would I mind if he handled this information as he saw fit (read here "don't ask, don't tell). I told him it was information for him and it was his choice not mine.

I understand how much you family means to you from reading your blog over the past few years. And a sense of loss is a terrible blow. I don't know what I can do for you but I continue reading your blog.....we have a few similarities....

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