Last week my brother flew into town from Florida (boy were his arms tired–bah-dum–bum) so obviously I got my tail to Houston to visit with him. And get this– sans kids. That’s right. Just me. Alone. By myself. Without responsibility. (Let us pause for this moment of bliss, moms.)
There is something about a shared bond of growing up in the same house with the same parents that can take 3 people who are so very different and make them so similar. Good friends. The best of friends. I remember my Mom once telling me that the day would come that not only would I have fun and enjoy the company of my brother and sister, but I would seek it out and crave it. I was pretty sure she had lost her mind. No way would the 3 of us ever have anything in common enough to enjoy time spent together. Chalk another one up to Mom being right. Again. As usual.
I am not sure I can actually tell you how much that visit meant to me. A chance to hang out with my brother, my sister and my Daddy without kids. Even my brother-in-law stepped up and watched my nephews a few times so just the 4 of us could be together. I needed the recharge. I needed the awesome verbal butt-whooping my brother can deliver with a look and a few words. I needed the laughter. Oh, the laughter when we all get together is out of control. Off the hook. It rocks. (Obviously, I did not read any thesauruses while I was there either.)
We talked about stories from childhood. I realized how little I knew about things that were going on even as I grew up in the same household. (Can we say egocentric last born child? I knew we could.) Oh, nothing scandalous or bad. (Sorry to disappoint.) Just the difference in the way the baby of the family viewed life compared to the way the oldest child viewed it. I was seriously out of the loop on the way things went down. BUT I also learned I was spoiled rotten. (Enough “DUH’s” from the peanut gallery!) My sister learned that she was actually the GOOD one. I wasn’t bad as much as I was creative when it came to school and my attendance. She freaked when I explained how often I cut, how I did it and that there was more than one occasion where my Mom knew about it and looked the other way. It was good for her to hear that she was the good child and pretty awesome for me–The Baby Formerly Known as The Nark– to learn that she fell second in line in the Kids Who Pushed the Limits and Disobeyed Our Parents contest. Woot! I always thought I was the good one. Not so much, suckas!
And of course we talked about life and how things have changed in the last 2 years. (This would be where I got a pretty good verbal butt-whooping from my older brother. But no headlock.) We laughed at the bizarre things. Became sentimental over the mushy things. And compared notes on life. (I came in last here and my brother and sister were quite stern on this one. In short, “get my act together or a headlock will look like Disneyland.” Massively censored, I might add.)
Shared history. Shared joys. Shared traumas. Shared lives.
I drove home in a funk. Thinking about how life can throw things at you and knock you so far off course you cannot remember which way you were going let alone your destination. You can have friends help you. Have a spouse to lend a hand. Even kids to remind you why you need to get up in the morning. But the people who have known you all of your life, those who share your history that bonds you from cradle to grave, they can help you find your way back on course. They can be your true north to lead you back home.
My brother and sister have helped. Are helping. Thirty-eight years old and my big sister and brother are still protecting their baby sister.
And isn’t that what every parent hopes for?
I think Mom would be proud about now.