14 June 2006


I like to believe that people are capable of change, but knowing firsthand how difficult it is, I find myself skeptical when it appears in some people, my brother for instance. Like many people, if you're not within a certain geographical proximity to him, within his sphere of daily life, you're not likely to hear from him.

He emailed me last night to ask if Dad's birthday was today (it's not, it's in a few days). I sent him the correct date, but today he followed up with a more substantive missive. This is a rare thing. Last month, he mailed Mom a Mother's Day gift which arrived before the day. His best is usually remembering to call during which he'll say something is in the mail when it isn't; the mentioned gift often has a way of never turning up. I used to be concerned that things were lost in the mail, so I'd email him for tracking and mailing info. After ignoring 3 or 4 of my messages, he would finally reply admitting he hadn't even mailed it yet. My birthday gift (if it comes at all) usually arrives a few months late along with the xmas gifts.

I don't know what to make of this seemingly more conscientious and thoughtful version of my bro. Several months ago, I decided to write off his birthday this year. I figured I'd still call and maybe send a card, but I would skip his gift and my sister-in-law's. With my niece, their birthdays all fall within a three week span providing additional hassle and financial strain to my broke self. I finally snapped, but now I'm feeling a little guilty because this seems like the year he might put in the effort. If I don't (their birthdays all fall the month before mine), he may not bother.

Ah, that's it though: I'm changing too. I can't put myself through a lot of effort when it's barely worth acknowledging to them even if he would respond differently this year. The gift isn't what matters anyway.

I reckon I'll see what my evolving self thinks of his as we go along.

One year ago at TTaT: Bad Title, Good Movie
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  1. As much as we hated to do it, Katie's family (mom's side) chalked off her brother (Katie's uncle) because they always sent crap cop-out gifts instead of real gifts even though we always sent good stuff. One year, they gave me a bag of pasta. The year before we chalked them off, they "donated" some money in everyone's name to animal rescue groups. However, we knew it was fake because we compared our sheets and they were all photocopies of each other even though we each were supposed to have a different and unique animal. We were pissed.

    As for your brother, maybe you can hold off on the gifts. Call the kids and wish them a happy birthday. Then call again right after your own birthday and, if he sends you something, apologize and say that you completely forgot to send the gifts as they got buried under a stack of bills and then send them out. Might work.

  2. We all change Claire.
    I know what you mean when yyou say its not the gifts which matter. Its the caring enough to remember to call and say hello am thinking of you on this day.

    Maybe "forgetting" to send as you're thinking would work.

    What if he does not even notice you haven't sent anything or called?


  3. go on with your evolving self- it's the way to be, really. i think a call or a card is more than enough for someone who rarely remembers or is on time when it comes to your birthday.

  4. Kevin: Ooh, the fake donation would've ticked me off too. As for my bro, if I skip his, but he comes through for mine, I'll probably just thank him for the gift. If need be, I'll just say I didn't expect to get anything from him. Or if I wuss out, I can just say I couldn't afford it- which is not untrue for now. It adds up when there's 3 of them to just one of me.

    Fitena: Exactly. He comes through with the remembering and calling pretty much (though he still can't remember the exact date because my mom's bday and mine are 2 days apart). It's when he says he has something for me, but then either never sends it or it doesn't arrive until xmas eve that's irritating.

    He would notice I think if I ignored his bday entirely since I'm well known for my memory, but I still plan to call &/or send him a card.

    Sizzle: Sounds fair to me.