Well Friday night I had a thought provoking conversation with a dear friend. She was very kind to listen as I vented about my experiences of the day. She is very understanding as she struggles with similar sibling issues. We spoke at length about the expectations we both have with regard to family. I confided in her that I am fearful of losing the relationship I have with my brother over the sale of my father's house. Her immediate question to me was basically 'What relationship?'. This simple question made me stop and think. What relationship indeed. My response to her was 'The imaginary relationship I have in my head'. I love my brother so much, but for many years the relationship has really been one sided. It has always been others giving to him with little given in return. This is not a new phenomenon. It began when we were kids I suppose. I was always put in the role of protector being the older sibling. At first this role was given to my by my mother, but over time I took it on myself. In retrospect I believe I took on at a very young age the role of protector/caregiver/doer/mediator for my entire family. This role intensified when my mother became ill and then even more so after my mother died and as Dad faced various challenges after her death. Perhaps having been in this role for so long some how has prohibited my brother from stepping up and doing his part. I don't know. That being said it doesn't change my hope that he will do the right thing even when deep down I know what to expect. Why then do I always allow myself to be disappointed, upset and angry when his actions are so predictable. This became the crux of the conversation I had with my dear friend. In the end it all comes down to HOPE, that hope we both have that our families will live up to our expectations. Even though we both know intellectually that our siblings will do what they have always done; we still hold onto that hope. Perhaps one day that hope will be realized although even as I type these words in my mind I know that chances are things will not change. Maybe it is that hope that keeps families bound together.