Comparisons
April 7, 2008, 12:58 pm
Filed under: daily | Tags: , , ,

NOTE: I DO NOT HAVE ANY CHILDREN. I PROBABLY DON’T ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT.

So, I was blog surfing just now. I won’t link to the blog, because I want to protect the innocent. But, really, this rant has a basis. I promise

I have a much older half-brother. Obviously, that means we share one parent (dad) but not the other. He’s 13 years older than me. My parents got married when he was 11, and started dating when he was 9. We get along, but I wouldn’t say we’re close by any stretch of the imagination. We’re two only children who happen to be siblings, and I got the healthy, two-parent, happy-household childhood that he didn’t. Not a whole lot I can do about that, but it makes for an awkward family dynamic. So be it.

A lot of the awful stuff that creates an awful family dynamic on my mom’s extended family is the act of comparing. This one is like this, but this one does that. This one is so successful! This one lives in new york! But that one is going through a nasty divorce. This one, that one, this one, that one. This one is out going, but she doesn’t ever read. This one is really shy, but look how smart she is. BLAH BLAH BLAH. They like to pride themselves on not doing that. BUT THEY DO IT. ALL THE TIME. VOMIT.

My parents compare my brother and I. To our faces. I’m much more comfortable in my own skin, with social graces. He’s not. He’s incredibly brilliant, particularly at math and science: hello, nuclear engineer! I’m far more verbal, but I can hold my own in sciences that don’t relay entirely on math: hello, bio and english major. I need people; he shuns human contact. I like dogs; he likes cats. I have straight hair; he has curly hair. I have to fight to gain weight; he has to fight to lose weight. I am usually very happy, but make it evident to everyone when I’m not; figuring out the difference between him happy and him unhappy is like telling the difference between “beige” and “oatmeal”.  We’re siblings, not carbon copies. Hell, we don’t even have the same mother, what makes you think we’re going to be alike? What does comparison accomplish?

Let’s talk about what we have in common: same eye color, same fair skin that burns easily and gets eczema, same nose and forehead, same tendency to read voraciously, same sense of humor. We both like pie. We both drink milk with pie. We both have musical inclinations, but are uneasy about performing by ourselves. We’re both smart, successful people who have actively pursued our own interests and hobbies. We are both good people, even if we’ve come about it from different angles.

So, please: if you have a stepson, don’t pick out one of his “bad” traits, pick it apart, and then say “but hey look! MY son is the opposite of that. AND I AM SO HAPPY. My kid came out better!” And don’t do it on the internet. Are you crazy? You’re setting yourself up to seriously hurt a kid, just because he has a different temperament than you and your kids. Unkind, uncouth, and bordering on cruel. More importantly, your stepson is your son’s brother. That will never change. Don’t mess with that.

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