Thursday, June 9, 2011
Brother and Me...
Those that know me, know that I I’ve never really wanted children. I didn’t ever see myself as the mother type, and still don’t to a point. When mum passed away late last year, it was my decision to stop work and move home from Sydney to take care of my 13 year old who she left behind; not the easiest decision to make at 25 years old, but one I have no regrets about making.
The road so far has been paved with many challenges along the way. Not only did I leave behind a life in Sydney, but to a point, I left a lot of myself back there as well. A lot of people, including family were worried about me and how I would cope looking after my brother and I can’t lie and say it’s been all easy these past few months, but by taking it day to day, my brother and I have finally started to form a good routine and Rhythm.
I recently received a long term guardianship order from the court system informing me 6 months down the track that I have now been named my brothers sole guardian for life. Since mum left us, it has been the ultimate struggle everyday to even get up in the morning and face the world each day. Although at times all I’ve wanted to do was curl up and deal with things in the way I’ve always dealt with them in the past, I couldn’t, because I have a 13 year old that depends on me every day of his life now. This has been my strength in what has been without a doubt the hardest 6 months of my life.
Today my brother and I are doing okay but that doesn’t mean that it gets any easier. No day is the same as the next when you have a teenager to take care of and in these past few months I have learnt a few lessons about myself. I’ve learnt that I am a lot more patient when I need to be. I do genuinely have concern for someone else’s life now that it is in my hands. I am more aware of how I spend my money and how my actions, whatever they maybe will ultimately affect my brother.
What makes our bond even more special is the fact that my brother is actually my cousin by blood standards. My mother became his fulltime carer when he was just a few weeks old after his biological mother (my aunty) was unable to take care of him. It’s hard for outsiders or non indigenous people to see how he is called my brother, but the way Indigenous families are, it is a kinship, a bond for life, no matter how close or far the bloodline may be. My mum was the only mother my brother knew, she raised him as her own and I see him in no other way but brother. If you are family, then you are my family, end of story.
With him being ‘adopted’ into our immediate family, and now with mum gone, I have had to go through the process of the courts and government departments in order for him to be legally in my care for good. On top of grieving for our mum and trying to adjust to a new life living back in the country and trying to take on a parent role; having to fill out countless paper work, deal with total government strangers and a system we aren’t used too, has been the heaviest Burdon to carry during the most difficult time. Being handed that one piece of paper from a magistrate granting me my brother’s guardianship was probably the biggest relief I have felt in my life.
Parenthood has been a strange ride for me so far. Things like telling him to be home from riding his bike at a certain time, and then when he doesn’t come back at that set time, the panic that sets in and the concern for his safety. The constant worry as a parent/guardian/carer is the thing that is constantly weighing on your shoulders everyday he leaves to go somewhere by himself. He cut his finger last night when washing up the vegetable peeler and it was my first time having to put a bandaid on his finger. Him as a teenager and the test he’s set for me, have also tested my abilities as an adult and matured me a lot more I feel. Times like these remind me of my new found responsibility, but 6 months later, we are finally finding our feet as Sister and brother/Carer and Child.
My brother and I have always had a close bond. I was there for the first few years of his life. I helped to change his shitty nappies, to feed him, make his bottles, bath him, dress him, and watch him take his first steps and words. He was the cutest little baby and everyone who ever met him loved him immediately. Today at 13 (turning 14 in November), He is loud, proud, funny, energetic, smart, aware and handsome (and he knows it too).
It’s a great feeling to watch him grow and develop everyday and I think how lucky I am to have this opportunity to guide him through the stages in his life. The way he has dealt with our mothers death has been one of the reasons what has kept me so strong. His strength and the way he has composed himself through it all has proved to me that he will grow up to be a strong determined black man.
What my brother has had to go through from the moment of his birth and now with our mother’s death, I don’t think I or anyone else will ever fully comprehend, but I feel he is lucky to have the love and support of us, his family, for the rest of his life. It won’t always be perfect, we will always fight and bicker at times, but we will no doubt have many good times also. There is still a long way to go for the both of us; A whole life time in fact, but regardless, I will be there for him through the good times and the bad, like I know he will for me, because that’s what makes us who we are and that was how we were raised to be; one blood...
Until Next Time...
One life, One Love X