My brothers have been living with Tre and me for about six months now and while things were a little rough in the beginning, it seems we’re finally finding our groove. My 19 year-old brother is finally starting to come out of his shell and is beginning to show interest in things outside of Fortnite, and my 27 year-old brother is… well, he hasn’t gotten any worse. As with any family situation we had to go through a bit of a learning curve to get to the semi-harmonious living environment we have now.
Here are 5 things I’ve learned along the way to our happy adjacent living situation.
Silence is golden
Living in the house with three other people it seems there is always some type of noise going on. If it’s not the TV, its the dishwasher or bickering, or music blasting from headphones at 6 a.m., one or the other spouse wanting to share their day. There is rarely a moment of silence. I used to dread the quiet because it gave me too much time to think. But now, I do a little happy dance when I get the text saying she’ll be home late and both of the guys are at work. Those moments when I can walk in the house without being acknowledged because on some days, just being spoken to is annoying. I have learned to appreciate the quiet moments because when you share a living space those times are sparse. I now get to work a little earlier in the mornings to have the chance to sit in my car in total silence and allow myself time to think and just be. You don’t realize how necessary silence is until you have to fight for it.
They have to learn some things for themselves
I am a problem solver. I sometimes actively seek out problems to solve because I am so good at it and I feel it gives my life purpose, but I’ve finally figured out I can’t do everything for my brothers. Why? Because they will never learn any thing. This little nugget of wisdom came one afternoon when we were all discussing something trivial and William asked me a question. I don’t even remember what the question was at this point because it was something so random. I was particularly annoyed this day because everyone in the house had been coming to me with everything and I was over it. Instead of answering his question I asked him why he didn’t just Google the answer. There are multiple media devices at his disposal to research and find things on his own but he was coming to me as if I was the all seeing Oracle. When he responded I almost lost my shit on him. He simply replied, “because it’s easier to just ask you, because you know everything.” I realized right there that I had created this monster and made the decision to put the monster down. I hadn’t been giving him, or anyone else in the house for that matter, the opportunity to learn or find out things on his their, yet I was getting angry at them for doing what I’d basically conditioned them to do. So I stopped, and not just with William. I stopped with every one. Anytime anyone in the house asks me a question that I know can be Googled I tell them to Google it, and walk away. Problem solved. 🙂
Not everybody is going to be happy all the time
When we all first started to live together I was running around like a sheep dog trying to corral everyone and make everyone be happy. This resulted in me running myself into the ground. Now, I let things be what they are going to be. I have figured out that while I am the older sister, at the moment I am having to act in the role of the parent to get them across the finish line. In stepping into the parenting role I have had to realize that I cannot be my brother’s friend. My object has been to help them grow into responsible men who contribute to society and will go on to start, raise and manage successful black families of their own. This means that they are not always going to like the things I say to them or have them do. At first I was in my feelings about it but now, I don’t care because I know all of it is going to work out in the end. I’ll get the last laugh when they are going through the same thing with their own children one day.
One band one sound
Tre and I had some difficulty getting on one accord when it came to making decisions about how things should run in the house once my brothers got here. It was the whole potato, potato situation. She’d say up I’d say down, she was left I was right, and we were hashing out our differences right in front of my brothers. They still have the mentality of children so they capitalized on this. Every time they saw an opportunity to take advantage of a moment of discord between Tre and me, they were all over it, which caused us to have our silent passive aggressive fights at a greater frequency. Until one day I tried a little experiment. I stopped letting them see when we didn’t agree and almost instantly there was a shift in the house. All of a sudden everyone started being more respectful. People started being more considerate, more tolerant. Our energy was directly influencing the climate in our house and when we stopped behaving like children, the children started to behave more like adults as well. The $20 disrespectful fee I implemented didn’t hurt either.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé are right, Everything is Love
My brothers are colossal pains in the ass, but I honestly wouldn’t have them be anything other than who they are. I regret leaving home at such an early age because it didn’t really give me the opportunity to get to know William or De’Shaunte’ in the way I got to know Marlon but I am truly thankful for the opportunity to build a relationship with William now and I look forward to getting to know De’Shaunte’ too. Whether everything is going right or it’s all going wrong I love every person in my family from the bottom of my heart.
Family is fun, happy, unique, loud, crazy, and all the other adjectives but above all family is love..
Until next time…
Don’t judge me you don’t know my life!!!