There was a time I desperately wanted a sister. Not in place of my brother, I just saw pairs of sisters around me and I coveted their bond. Now it is so intensely clear to me--the bigger picture--God knows exactly what He's doing, even when he picks out our siblings. Oh sure, there were times I wanted to throw him out the metaphorical, and sometimes literal, window, times I slugged him with all the might of an older sibling profoundly annoyed, times I wanted powers to wish him away. The kid was a pest. But put us on a vacation together and we were immediate best friends. Pick on one of us and the other became instant defender. Thicker than water, the blood ran in our veins.
He still irritates the life outta me. Yah. The boy is good at everything he does and smarter than his own good. It would be a tough act to follow, so everyday I praise God that I was the firstborn.
I've never lived more than an hour away from my brother, unless you count the 27 months I lived as an only child. Twelve is going to be pushing the limits of what I can bear. We don't see each other that often, he lives his life and I live mine. But when those lives collide in birthday parties or holidays or weekends when he comes to visit, my life is richer. Yes, there was time, in late elementary school, when I longed for a sister, but with that brief, childhood fantasy aside, my brother has always been enough.
Enough to play GI Joes and Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters on the floor of his room with. Enough not to play Barbies with (he didn't play them right. He gave them funny voices and his life scenarios were not nearly as sophisticated as mine. His never dealt with drug addiction, affairs, and teen pregnancy). Enough for me to be the subject of his first full sentence, "Mommy, sissy hit." Enough to rub his soft brown hair between my fingers when his head only reached my shoulder. Enough to drop Bunny down the hole in the cabin at Tahoe over and over and over. Enough to laugh uproariously in his face when he used to tell me that one day he would be older than me. Enough to run away from him and lock myself in the bathroom when he was finally taller than me and I accidentally punched him in the face. Enough for him to laugh hysterically when, as my mom had long since promised, he realized the tables had finally turned. Enough for obstacle courses, bedroom tents made out of blankets, and joke books. Enough to know that it would be best to put a towel over the oar that stuck out between us in the car so that we wouldn't kill each other on the way to Tahoe. Enough to use for my sadistic tormenting of "Crimson Clown." Enough to probably have been one of my best friends then...even if in secret. Enough to be one of them now in the wide open.
I'm proud of this kid who will always be a kid to me. He'll always have glasses and braces and be that awkward, slightly dorky fourth grader. It doesn't matter that he grew up to have all the looks in the family. Or maybe he'll always be stuck somewhere between four and five. Somewhere when we walked the street of our new town looking for kids our ages. Maybe he'll always be twelve and sweaty on a basketball court and I'll be screaming at a referee about his asinine call that made my brother's team lose. Maybe he'll be graduating from high school and I'll wonder where all the time went. Or maybe, he'll always be the teenager who told me I looked beautiful on my wedding day or the uncle who held his nephew for the first time. Maybe he'll be all of these boys, existing in realms of my memory reserved especially for my favorite people.
I know I will miss him. I know that I desperately want another child because I long for my children to experience the camaraderie that inevitably came from being close in age. I know that the day I move I will be counting the moments until I get to see him again. Do me a favor, don't tell him about this post. If I know my brother at all, it'll go to his head. And he is so intelligent, so talented, so beautiful inside and out, that he doesn't need anymore ego boosts.
I am thankful that I don't have a sister. Rejoicing in the fact that God saw the whole picture when, on December 24, 1983, my little gorilla of a brother came into the world to share a family with me.