Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Like many families these days, my family is complex. Some of you already know that my parents are divorced, and each parent has found a new partner. My father has had two more children since remarrying, so now I have siblings and half siblings.

My feelings towards my half-siblings have always been different to my feelings for my brother and sister. I have never lived in a household with my half-brothers (I'll call them Soccerboy and Bookworm). I never woke to their cheeky smiles or soothed their nightmare tears, as I did with my brother and sister. I only see them when there is a family get-together, every couple of months. Occasionally, I take them to a movie, or to the museum, but my life is so busy with my own family that this is only happens twice a year or so. One of the oddest aspects of my relationships with my half-brothers is that they are much, much younger than I am - Bookworm is less than a year older than MY eldest child. So in many ways, I feel more like an auntie than a sister to Bookworm and Soccerboy. I often feel guilty that I seem to love them in a fond, but absent-minded way. There is love, but it is muted, it is not always in the forefront of my mind; it is not a powerful love that reaches down into the depths of my stomach.


Last night, around nine o'clock, my father dropped around unexpectedly. He looked tired and his face was creased with worry, though he tried to act matter-of-fact.

"I've just come from the hospital," Dad commented calmly. "Soccerboy has a bad pain in his hip, and a high fever. They're not sure what's wrong with him".

Immediately I felt a rush of worry, and wanted to go to the hospital. Soccerboy was lying there alone, because my father and my stepmother had decided not to stay over. I suppose Soccerboy was being brave, and told his parents he would be fine, but I wanted to drive to the hospital straight away, just in case. I wanted to see if he was frightened, or in any pain. I wanted to be with Soccerboy. I thought about him as I tried to get to sleep; I woke with a headache.

In a few minutes, I will go to visit my sick little half-brother. I want him to know I am worried, I want to see if I can help in any way, and more than anything I want him to know I love him. Maybe he thinks my love for him is half-hearted, lukewarm; maybe he feels unimportant to me. If that's the case, I need to do a whole lot better. Going to visit him will be the start.

UPDATE: Soccerboy's MRI scan shows he has pyomyositis (an infection within a muscle) in his pelvic muscles. This is a fairly rare condition, but generally responds well to treatment. Soccerboy is being treated with intravenous antibiotics, but yesterday afternoon was still feverish and vomiting at intervals.
I am going up to visit Soccerboy after I drop my daughter at school this morning, because my father has an eye appointment, and my stepmother has a dental appointment this morning. Yes, you heard right, they are going to these appointments, and therefore will not be in to visit Soccerboy until the afternoon. They left him at 4:30 in the afternoon yesterday. Don't get me started on this.


Kerri said...

Jelly, I hope by now you know what's wrong with Soccerboy and that it's not serious. Poor little guy. What a worry that must be for his parents and family. As usual you've touched my heart by the pouring out of yours. You are such a sweetie :)

TUFFENUF said...

Don't sell yourself short, or feel guilty for not loving the halfs as much as the full siblings. You are a kind and caring person, and you are there for him when Soccerboy needs you - that is what counts. I hope he will be OK. Keep us posted. -Tuff

mackeydoodle said...

I hope everything is O.K. with your half brother. Don't be so hard on yourself Jelly....you are a busy Mom,wife &Dr.it is hard to find enough time for eveyone in a day.
It's not you are single & without children & can spend all your free time with them. You have priorities & obligations. You are obvioulsy a caring person...that is very evident. The best thing that you can do is to let them know how much they mean to you.
Give yourself a big hug for me Jelly...you are a magnificent woman.

doubleknot said...

Hope Soccerboy is OK now.
Coming from a family made up of halfs and steps and even adoption I can tell you it isn't that you don't love them it is that it is a sort of different love. Being there when something goes wrong is the important thing. Until my half sisters and brother grew up I still felt like a Mom to them because I am older.
When you are not around them all the time it is hard to establish a bond - but it is still there - caring about what happens to him shows you love him. A lot of steps and halfs have resentments but I can see that you don't that you have welcomed them into your heart and they will know that even if you don't get to take them out but twice a year. You first, because if you don't take care and love yourself you can't spread out and love your family then your extended family.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Just do the best you can and I know that you will do what's in your heart.

manababies said...

Wow, that is an odd relationship indeed, especially that your half siblings are almost the same age as your own children. I'm sure he will feel so much better being at the hospital under your care, even if you're just there to keep him company for a little while. And try not to feel so guilty... you have a family of your own as well as everything else to juggle. :)

Flossy said...

Dearest Jelly, I hope that Soccerboy is ok. I have an odd sort of family too - don't be hard on yourself, it's natural to feel the way you do because you didn't grow up with your brothers. What matters is that you are there when it counts - when they really need you.

Big hugs xxx

shellyC said...

Hi Jelly. I hope Soccerboy is OK and I am sure he will be thrilled with your visit.

Loved your camping story....I can so relate to the setting up of tents!!!!

mackeydoodle said...

I am happy to hear that Soccerboy will be O.K. & it is so nice of you to be there for him. I know how hard it must be for you not say anything re: your Father?/Stepmothers lack of interest in their ill child. I am good at keeping my mouth shut but a moment like this might be just a bit too hard for me.
((((HUGS)))) to you Jelly.

jellyhead said...

Thanks everyone, you are all so sweet to me!!

Soccerboy is much better today, and was even up to playing a few games of cards! I am relieved!

Thanks again :)

susan said...

I am sure soccerboy is glad for his big sister's care. I can picture you dressing up in his favorite super hero costume and arriving at his hospital bedside - 'have no fear - super doc is here!'

Glad he is doing better!

Alice said...

Soccerboy is blessed to have a genuinely caring and loving sister. I'm so glad that his condition is not as bad as you probably feared, and I hope he responds well to treatment. I'm sure you will continue to keep in touch with both boys as much as your busy schedule will allow. Your children may also enjoy the opportunity to have two 'big brothers'.

mackeydoodle said...
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mackeydoodle said...

You have been there for him in his time of need, he will never forget that Jelly.

Mimi said...
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Mimi said...

I enjoyed your honest heartfelt thoughts. Love doesn't come in half and wholes, you said it well. I sure hope soccerboy is healthy now.


T. said...

I'm glad your brother is getting well, Jelly. I wouldn't worry about loving the halfs as much as the wholes. It sounds as though you love him just right.

My float said...

You are more than welcome to be my half sister any time!
Hope Soccerboy gets better soon.