Thursday, October 9, 2008


One vast fortune I have is to have grown up with brothers. They were at one time an aggravation. Dealing with them was an exercise in frustration. They never did what I wanted them to do, what I demanded they do! So many years later, I’m fully aware that my life is blessed because of them. I am a richer & better person because they are my brothers.

They helped make me a more understanding, perhaps a more patient person; a more loving wife. Brothers taught me about life; things I would never have learned on my own. They taught me about toughness & how to appreciate masculinity (even bathroom humor – ugh!). They lived loyalty for me, & showed me how to receive & understand their kind of love. They taught me their antics – me, the direct recipient – & how to see the giftedness of the male spirit. At least for these reasons, I am forever a better wife, mother & hopefully sister.

Whenever they wonder what their purpose is in life, these boys, I want them to remember that part of it is in giving their sister the chance to become the woman she’s supposed to be. It’s their spirit that helps give her an understanding of her place in the world, a contrast to her own giftedness. It’s their brother-ness that helps her get beyond herself to see into the heart of another. I tell this to my brothers because I’m the only sister who can. I’ll tell this to my sons, because their sister won’t know it for years to come. And I’ll tell it to my daughter because she, whether she realizes it now or not, has a vast fortune of her very own.



Marvin said...

I am one of Susannah’s two brothers, the oldest of us three and I can say with most certainty that this road that she has traveled is a two-way street. I have been moved as to the comments and complements of my sister’s proclamation and wish to proclaim, myself, that she has, unknowingly, influenced me as much as I have ever been responsible for influencing her. This is exactly what families are supposed to do, sometimes purposefully but most of the time by chance. I mean, we grow together as individuals, learning from each others mistakes and accomplishments but not until we begin to reflect on this history do we understand how these differences and similarities compliment and enhance our existence.
Thank you(Sister).

Susannah said...

Okay, so my other brother said this, through email:
"I tried to leave a comment, but the machine seems not to want to let me. What I would have said is that your thoughts were very honoring and that my prayer is that they would become truer and truer as we learn to live and love. Blessings, Smith"

Now, see my brothers...see why I wrote this post?

Pamela D. Hart said...

Susannah: Your brothers sound so sweet. Even though I'm sure they are "Manly"! LOL. I am the oldest of 3 brothers. But believe me, they gave me "heck" and I gave as good as I got! But I am blessed to have them. We are close and I wouldn't have it any other way. They taught me that men are important. They are tough and manly yet they are respectful of my sisters and I, our mother and their wives.

A beautiful post, thank you for sharing!

(ps from your Docker's post)

Susannah said...

Thanks Pam~ Yes, they are truly wonderful Men. Strong, courageous & faithful men. They are treasures!

Sounds like you've got some treasures of your own!

Merry Christmas!

Jen said...

now that I've deeply offended you on Z's blog....I'll show you the more sane part of me. :0)
(Hopefully we'll laugh about it over cyber-coffee someday?!?)

Great post, Susannah. Very touching. I love my dear brother so much, and yes, it is such a blessing to have a brother.

And that dog over there...---->
is SO cute!

Susannah said...

Welcome, Jen~ Glad you stopped by!

"now that I've deeply offended you on Z's blog"
See, this is what I meant by people having misunderstandings in 2-dimensional-blog-comment-sections. No harm, no foul. (Though, I wouldn't quit my day job for poet Ameritus...)

Since you've stopped by, would you like to get to know me a little? (I looked for a blog link to do the same for you, but didn't find a blog...?)

These posts may help re: my comment about 'speaking up.'

Primary Perspectives

For Such a Time as This

and especially -

Anti-apology Tour at Joe's

Maybe that'll help kind of explain where I'm coming from, so we're not just two random people, out of context, who happened by Z's blog @ the same time...

Do come back, Jen. You're welcome here any time.

Craig and Heather said...

This is a lovely thought concerning your brothers, Susannah.

I do tend to have a big mouth and plenty of strong opinion, but it is quite possible that not having had such an experience as yours has left me with a serious disadvantage in that much of my time is either spent walking on eggshells so as to not offend or apologizing for the slightest annoyance because I just don't handle conflict all that well.

If I didn't value truth, I could consider leftism so I'd be able to sit around holding hands with people I'm pretty sure hate me but are pretending to care in order to prevent some imagined global catastrophe. ;)

Anyway, it is obvious from their comments that you and your brothers love one another very much. And it is refreshing to encounter people who are truly tolerant (not in the liberal sense) of those who have experienced life a little differently.

Thank you so much for sharing the link.


Jen said...

Thanks for the welcome, Susannah.
I'll read your other links at some point today.

Unfortunately, I had little impulse control yesterday, and although it felt good at the moment I hope it didn't do any serious harm, to you or Heather.

Jen said...

you said:
"much of my time is either spent walking on eggshells so as to not offend or apologizing for the slightest annoyance because I just don't handle conflict all that well."

I can relate to this, and your subsequent statement about the lure of liberalism, if for nothing else than the comraderie (funny to use that word, huh?).

I'm not sure what else to say other than that I apologize for the personal attack on you at Z's. Diplomacy is not my strong point (but understating my point IS. ;-)

Craig and Heather said...


I do get your point. My thought about "angry feminists" was not intended to be understood that I think women ought to be happy to play door mat. On the other hand, there is a stereotypical, manufactured "feminist" anger that gets thrown around by some women who always seem to be looking for something to be offended about. It looks very much like the leftist/liberal response to supposed offenses and does more to hurt the cause of equality than help. That was my reference point, as I do make an effort to not be like that.

The desire to avoid conflict keeps me looking for something to appreciate about others and there really are only a few people I truly dislike. If that makes me "too good", in an irritating way, perhaps understanding that it is something of a self-defense mechanism would soften the edges a bit.

Speaking one's mind is fine with me, and I do prefer to know where I actually stand when interacting with others.


Susannah said...

Heather~ "...quite possible that not having had such an experience as yours has left me with a serious disadvantage..."

I'm not sure about 'disadvantage,' but I'm quite sure that your life experiences offer strengths/perspectives that I don't have; and that's a good thing!

"my time is either spent walking on eggshells so as to not offend or apologizing..."
I used to be a little like this...please, take a look @ the "Anti-apology Tour" link. We all have room to grow... ;)

And yes, my brothers are fine, fine men. I am loyal to them to the bitter end, but will kick their @#$-es in a heartbeat, and they mine!

Jen~ We all have our days. No harm done that hasn't been cleared up already, yes? Again, I'm so glad you came by.

Incidentally, I think we can all agree that this woman represents the kind of 'feminist anger' that Heather is talking about...

Jen said...

oh man. Janine Garafalo makes me puke in my mouth.
Feminism is an issue that I struggle with, personally, and people like Garafalo don't represent me or my beliefs / ideals. When I talk about feminism, I'm talking about real action; suffragettes, female activists in Iran / Afghanistan / Syria, and notably Sarah Palin. I've often wondered where the NOW gang is on so many issues of our day.
Feminism has gotten such a bad rap, it's now an ugly word because of people like Garafalo.
I think of it differently.
Not man-hating, but woman-encouraging. No need to drag someone else down in order to succeed. I know it's a pollyanna dream, but it's how I view my world.
I do consider myself to the right of moderate, and I do subscribe to my own unique brand of feminism.
I only recently started reading feminist philosophy, and have found it quite encouraging and uplifting, not the Cindy Sheehan mumbo-jumbo we get through the MSM.
I think that if more people actually read some stuff, they'd realize that feminists are more interested in consistency (doing away with dualism, if that's possible). Again, it's more hopeful than pragmatic, but it's a positive thing.
Regarding Palin: I was watching CSPAN the other day and an auther named Rebecca Traister was talking about Palin and the effect SP had on her in recent years. Traister is a feminist author, and unlike me, she does hold many typically liberal viewpoints. However, she voiced her admiration for Palin in that she was breaking new ground. She also spoke to the importance of intelligent women (on both sides of the aisle) moving onward and upward in society and politics. I found it VERY encouraging to hear this woman promote the success of other women, even when their views are in direct opposition to hers.

Z said...

for anonymity sake, I won't say how many, but I have brothers.
To this DAY I don't know why my folks didn't heed my advice when I was sixteen that they should adopt a tall, blonde son with blue eyes... :-) OH, well. !!
I adore ADORE my sisters....they're even more fantastic than ME (heh heh!) (but not by much!)

re women: Here's what I hate; when Clinton and Pelosi and Boxer have to kiss other senators. You hardly EVER see John Kerry get up on a dais and KISS Joe Lieberman, for example! I don't know, it just BUGS me when the women kiss the men and likewise.

ON the other hand, I believe our society would be better off if women resumed more traditional rolls...children are suffering so badly so women can feel 'complete'. THere, I"ve said it; I'll go run and duck now!

Oh, this IS fun!
I'd say I envy your brothers, everybody, but I'd feel disloyal to my girls (I'm the eldest!)

Craig and Heather said...


That would be the type of angry feminism I was referencing.

I believe our society would be better off if women resumed more traditional rolls...children are suffering so badly so women can feel 'complete'. THere, I"ve said it; I'll go run and duck now!

Don't you dare run and duck! MORE people need to see this truth and be willing to act accordingly. While I totally understand the need for some women to work, there is often pressure to have a career in order to truly be making the most of our lives.

And, to be honest, there are certain jobs that just are not suitable for women. I know someone who worked at a sawmill, overseeing a crew of predominantly men. The few women were, for the most part, decent workers but made things difficult as there was always some sort of emotional drama that was disruptive but which the poor guys never could figure out how to resolve (I can't imagine ;) )

Anyhoo, he was telling me about it, obviously frustrated at his inability to understand, and all I could do was shrug and say that I don't get it, either.


Susannah said...

Jen~ I'm TOTALLY with you on the feminism-thing! (Have you seen the subtitle of my blog?) In fact, anything under the label "big idea" is a post that somehow relates to the issues your comment approaches. I'd love to have you hang out here a little more & get your thoughts on more 'big ideas.'

Z!! One of my favorites!! ;) I didn't know you have sister(s). I'm w/ you on the kissing thing...can you imagine Barney Frank! (who knows where that mouth has...oh, shiver-me-timbers! never mind.) And as for 'disloyalty,' I don't think it's disloyal to imagine what it "would have been like..." I've ALWAYS wanted a sister, but then, I don't think I would be who I am today (& still growing, btw) if I'd had sisters instead...guess we'll never know, & I trust that God knew what He was doing.

Heather~ I'm on board w/ the traditional family roles, too. I've written about it in a few places, but most clearly here . In our little family, I'm the SAHM; also tried working part time when they were babies. Let me tell you THAT did not work - least of all for me! I do work some now (very part-time), but they're all in school -- 14, 11 & 7 -- so it's much more do-able.

oh, & I thought you all would appreciate the Garafalo bit.

Thanks again, all, for such thoughtful & sincere comments.

Jen said...

Ha! LOVE your subtitle!!
I also love finding out that Palin and others like her are very like-minded with ME regarding these issues. I read your piece on Palin, and was so thrilled to not feel so alone on that.

I gave up on the idea that women can "have it all" regarding working and being a mom. Something, somewhere is going to suffer. But, I also think that if I feel deep in my gut that something (education, being with my kids, working) needs some attention, I had better do it. I say that because my personal experience shows that when I bow to society's demands (or what I perceive), not only do I suffer, but my family suffers.

Z, I totally hear you. And I partially agree. I think that women need to listen to thier instincts more...and odds are, they'll do the right thing. Right now, I'm staying home with my four year old. I worked last year, but it hit me like a ton of bricks that she's growing up SO FAST! I feel much more fulfilled being home with her now, following my instincts.

Personally, I think that SAHMs make the common mistake of not having any / enough outside hobbies, or not knowing who they are (besides "mom"), and this leads them to thinking that working will give them that fulfillment. I suppose it can, but knowing yourself as a person can, too...and it's much more demanding and engaging "work".

Jen said...

And Z, I always, ALWAYS longed for a sister.
I think that's a HUGE blessing and I'm SO glad my girls have each other.

Susannah said...

Jen~ Sorry it has taken me a bit to get back here - soccer games, etc. all weekend...
I appreciate SO MUCH your willingness to read some of my archived stuff, & equally thrilled to be 'of the same mind' on so many things. I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship! :)

You make a good point about SAHM's not 'getting out there' & staying in touch w/ who they are. I think part of the isolation issue is that our society has turned into one that scorns SAHM's for our 'lack of accomplishments' in life. Often times the result is Moms end up leaving home for work just to feel supported by society, which like you said, causes something/somewhere to suffer.

I say we talk more often, & get to know each other better!