Several people have commented how much my boys enjoy each other. And, truth be told, they do. Like all the time. It is awesome. The kid loves to entertain baby E. And baby E loves to follow him around, showering him with gooey kisses. Which the kid loves. Baby E is like a built in audience for the kid. And the kid is nearly always entertaining for baby E. They're a perfect match. And I am so incredibly blessed by that.
But their relationship has started to make me think about my own with my brother. (What? You didn't know I have a brother? Well, I do. A younger one. He lives far away.)
My brother and I have never been what I'd consider close. We're very different. Our career choices kind of do the best job of explaining it. I am a social worker, a therapist. He's an engineer, a computer one. See what I mean? I'm people. He's math and science and I don't even know what because that's not how my brain works. I figure out behavior and relationships. He figures out scientific computer stuff.
He and I have always been on different planes. Occasionally we cross, and those are (as adults at least) positive interactions, but - truth be told - we just have very little in common. And it's not that either of us made that decision consciously, it's just kind of how it is. How it has always been. Really, the gulf seems to have gotten bigger since our kids were born (he has 2 also). I don't know why that is, but it is.
And then my MIL died. My brother drove more than 13hrs by himself in one day to be at her funeral with me. I absolutely didn't expect him to do that (seriously, that's a lot of driving for 1 person in a day). Also, like I said, we're not really close. And that, I think, is why I was so deeply, profoundly touched by his being there. We had many friends who came to support us that day, many of whom we were surprised to see. But, hands down, having my brother there meant the most. That he would make that effort...that he would know that I needed him...that he would simply come and be there made the biggest difference for me that awful day.
It's funny - I thanked him, but I couldn't find the words to really tell him how much I appreciated his simply being there. It meant the world to me, truly it did. And it reminded me of something. Siblings have such a unique relationship. They share so much: DNA, history, parents, family, holidays. They often fight like no others. Yet they tend to stick up for each other, too. They understand each other's experiences in a way no one else can. So much the same, and yet it can sometimes be such a difficult relationship. And yet, there it is. One of those relationships that once it exists, will always be there.
And there is such value in knowing that some one else, no matter how distant, will always be on your side, have your back. So thank you, dear brother, for having my back when I most desperately needed it, even if I couldn't articulate to you how much I needed it, or how much it meant to me. And may I be able to instill that loyalty and love into my children so that they, too, will always be there in that way for each other.
Today's lesson - the sibling dyad is such an interesting one. Siblings know each other - and their parents - in a way no one else does, or ever will. They have similar, yet different experiences, but nonetheless ones no one else can really ever understand. The sibling relationship is a permanent relationship, one of the few in our lives. It can be difficult at times. It can also be a blessing. Sometimes when we least expect it.