So far this trip has been fascinating. There have been frustrations along the way, but for the most part it has been a pleasant experience.
One of the pleasant surprises has been how well my brothers and I get along. When I took off for university 13 years ago, we weren’t on the best of terms. As little boys we played together, but as we got older, I slowly pulled away—in part because my youngest brother always wanted to do whatever I was doing, hang out with whatever people I was hanging out with, and I just didn’t want to share my world.
Now, though, we can totally talk and laugh together despite the fact that we really haven’t communicated much in the last 13 years.
One of the bonding points, of course, has been the fact that all of us pulled away from our mom’s religion. And none of us relish the fact that she wants us all to go with her to church this Sunday.
We went to the cinema last night to see Man of Steel (which I really didn’t care for), and afterward we decided to walk home. Along the way we talked about religion, about our own beliefs, about the many ways that we have separated ourselves from the religion our mother hoped would continue to guide us. We started laughing about the different ways that we each rebelled, and decided we should have a code name for the three of us that references our pulling away from Mormonism.
We batted around a few ideas, and then genius struck the middle brother. “We should be the ‘Children of Disobedience’,” he said, and I (the oldest) and our younger brother immediately agreed. We started talking about how C.O.D. will attend the church services this Sunday but will hit the road the moment services are over, with no man being left behind to be surrounded by whoever wants to talk us into staying or generally starting to attend church again.
It’s funny; with all the worries I had about how things would go with my mom, I really didn’t consider how it would be with my brothers at all. So for it to automatically go into a comfortable space was truly more than I could have asked for.
It’s also interesting to me to see how we all slip back into our respective roles in terms of birth order: I definitely am acting like the oldest, and from time to time the middle brother and I keep tag team teasing the youngest—all in good fun of course, and even the youngest knows it and laughs with.
And somehow I’ve already fulfilled other older brother obligations. Both of them have sought me out to talk about things other than just our mother and religion. Health issues, girl issues, all sorts of things, and I’ve dutifully given them my opinion and offered advice. Strange, 13 years without being there as the older brother, and immediately we all slipped back into our brotherly roles without any animosity.
Though to be fair, I think the frustration each of us has felt over the years with our mother was a helpful conduit to reestablishing our relationships with each other. We are, after all, the Children of Disobedience.
And there will definitely be more coming about mom: a couple days ago we had a conversation that finally bore different fruit and gave grounds for hope.