Thursday, May 14, 2009

Water Under the Bridge

This past weekend I was in Kentucky visiting family. One of my brothers received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Kentucky so we had an "open house" for friends and family. It was also Mother's Day so I was able to spend time with my mother, step-mother and step-grandmother.

One of the things I actually appreciated the most was spending some time with my younger brother. As I mentioned in a previous post, my brother and I had a "falling out" almost 16 months ago. He lived with my husband and I over the summer and again in the fall/winter for a total of about 4 months. He was in DC doing an internship with the Department of Homeland Security and we were happy to help out. Unfortunately, it did not end well. I won't go into the details but it has been over a year since the last time we actually spoke.

When I visited my family a few weeks ago, my brother called both my mother and step-father and seemed genuinely upset that no one had told him I was in town. Of course my first thought was "didn't know you cared." So for this visit, I asked everyone to make sure he knew I was coming and figured I'd see what happened.

I didn't talk much with him at the open house, but he did come over and give me a hug. After the open house, he and my younger sister joined me at my mother's house for dinner and cake. We spoke for a while, nothing of any consequence, but it was a start. He then asked if he could come over the next day after work. This time there was no sister or 2-year-old niece to provide a buffer. We didn't talk about much other than his new job at the vet center, his new apartment, his new car, etc. We didn't bring up the "fall out."

So, I'm hoping we can move past it and call it water under the bridge. As I was thinking of what that means to me, I decided to look it up. According to the Free Dictionary website "water under the bridge" means: "A past occurrence, especially something unfortunate, that cannot be undone or rectified." Well, the fall out was definitely "unfortunate" and cannot be undone. It also can't really be rectified since both sides believe they are in the right. Another website for quotations and idioms defined it as "Something that has happened in the past and is no longer worth agonizing over." While it was in the past, and I definitely do not want to keep agonizing over it, I don't know if I agree that it is "no longer worth agonizing over." There are serious issues that caused the argument and by sweeping them under the rug (another idiom?) they won't ever be dealt with.

Regardless of the actual meaning of "water under the bridge," I am glad I have my brother back. I would actually prefer not rehashing the past and just move forward from here. It's not as if I think we are about to become best-friends, but it's nice to be able to talk with him or think of family get togethers without worrying about how it will go...


  1. I'm happy! Happy you're back posting and happy to hear the news. I have some falling out issues with family and I do not believe we will ever get past them. However, this past Sunday when I phoned home, I spoke briefly with my Dad who seemed happy to hear from me. I softened my view a little and realized that there is some hope of near-normality. True normality will never return. I think the problem for me is that I project my feelings (or supposed feelings) on others and feel there's no getting past it. But that argument only happens in my mind. Every life situation has proven me wrong so far.

    Sometimes it's necessary to openly agree to disagree, and other times it's best to let sleeping dogs lie.

  2. I know what you mean about "projecting feelings" - I often find myself doing the same thing. Then I step back and realize I have to respect the other person enough to allow that their feelings might not be exactly as I think they are or should be.
    On a different note, I wonder how many idioms we could come up with for the same idea? I had two in my post and you added another in your comment. I'm sure there are others...

  3. I had a brief period where my sister and I didn't speak, and while the reconnecting time was kind of awkward, we're closer than ever now. I'm glad you're starting to work things out!