Brothers and sisters– and not one headlock or noogie

Last week my brother flew into town from Florida (boy were his arms tired–bah-dumbum) 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.

12 Comments

  1. This was truly truly heartwarming. My relationship with my big brother is… I don’t really know how to describe it. But i know he has my back and I look forward to the future

  2. What a great post. You may be right, I think that is what every parent ultimately hopes for 🙂

  3. Wish I had that sort of relationship with my brother, but alas I don’t. He is a weird cat. I love him, but we just don’t really have anything in common.

    Doesn’t help that my mother makes it abundantly clear that he is the favourite though….. hence his nickname ‘The Golden Child’!

  4. I too never believed my mom when she told me that I would someday need and want to be around my sisters. They are twins and I always felt like the odd one out when growing up. Now we don’t get to talk or see each other as much as we would like but when we do watch out! The three of us put sleepless nights as a twenty something to shame! Good to hear your writing voice again and hope all is well.

  5. Who knew the little brother that threatened to beat my cat with a “fly-swatter” for eating his canary would grow to be such an amazing man? I’m 44, he’s 42 and he’ll forever be my champion! He is my reality check. Everytime our family gathers, it still makes my mom cry to see how close we are. I love knowing my boys, 12 and 15, truly miss each other when they are apart for extended periods of time. We all need that 1 person that will validate who were are.

    Jenn, I know your mom is more than proud of all of you.

  6. That hits home. I’m the baby of the family as well. I have three older siblings and we have had similar conversations about our “view” of how things happened. It’s enlightening to hear from them what REALLY happened and how many things I totally missed! But you are so right that they are the ones to ground you and bring you back around when you need some guidance…I’m thankful to have them!

    Thanks for the post!

  7. Sniff. Sigh. Your mom is probably watching you from up on her cloud and thinking, “Well, it’s about time!”

  8. Thank you for posting! Hooray!

  9. too sweet…even though my sisters are in the midwest and i’m on the west coast, i feel like the miles don’t matter when we talk on the phone.

    i hope you & your family has a great holiday.

  10. I love my twin brother, but my family was pretty weird and I remember wishing for a “Walton-type” Christmas.

    Of course, that’s just television.

    Thanks for posting this and making me think that there is perhaps a chance that my four kids will, you know, eventually like each other ;o)

    Hugs.

  11. That’s so awesome. I’m not close with my brother at all and it makes me sad. But it’s hard to be vulnerable with someone who hates everything you stand for.

  12. There are 5 kids in our family. 3 girls 2 boys and I was smack in the middle. I’ve stayed close with my sisters, but my brothers were pulled away by spouses. It’s sad to say that my older brother’s marriage breaking up has been a blessing in a way. He has been to more family gatherings in the last 6 months than he has in the last 6 years. I realize how funny he is and how much I missed him. And my children get to know their uncle and cousin. We all live in the same metropolitan area which is very rare these days. Makes for nice family gatherings.

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