As i sit here on the front porch of my only brother’s new forest dwelling, i wonder how two people with the same roots can wind up having such different approaches to life.
My husband and nephew are wrapping up a game of chess in the living room.
It’s a stalemate.
They have found their intellectual equals in one another.
(My nephew trains with a Master).
That is something I have been conscious of for years now.
And it should come as no surprise, seeing as how my brother’s wife has the same personality as my husband.
It makes sense that my nephew would have so much in common with him.
Even if i feel they all have little in common with me.
My family has always stretched out the joke that I was adopted.
The truth is I was switched at birth.
I don’t recall if I’ve ever written about this; i apologize if i redund myself.
It was the first time my mom was going to breastfeed me after having given birth.
She says the nurses brought her an Asian baby.
The baby didn’t take to her and she didn’t take to the baby.
For starters, the baby didn’t speak Spanish.
My mom pressed the red emergency button by her bed and a couple nurses came running in.
“No es mi bebé.” (This isn’t my baby).
The nurses looked embarrassed and apologized.
Then they brought her the “right” baby- Me.
I have heard this story so many times that I have a vivid recollection of everything that happened even though, technically, I wasn’t there.
A few of my dad’s clients are neo-natal nurses.
He says sometimes he hears them chat about how they remove the id bracelets from the newborns and then try to guess who is who.
So who knows how many people in my hometown have actually grown up with the wrong family.
All my cousins say I look exactly like a younger version of my paternal grandmother, so I have never bought into my family’s “you were adopted” joke.
To be honest it is really my brother who is different.
He is far more determined and assertive than any of my other relatives.
I worry we are too different now.
He was the one person who always got my sense of humor.
Then, his success made him hyper-conscious of being overly culturally sensitive and politically correct.
See, when you’re a minority, it’s easy to joke about the stereotypes attributed to your own culture.
But if you don’t share in that culture’s problems, it seems insensitive to joke about those who do.
That’s why I take great care to never make insensitive comments on this blog, not even about white people.
My brother saved my life once.
He walked me to class on the first day of school.
He taught me to respect my parents.
But I don’t see myself adapting to this new lifestyle of his.
A lifestyle in which he expects me to keep my point of view to myself.
Perhaps nothing’s changed at all.
Come to think of it, that’s the way it’s always been.