Monday, October 24, 2011

Brothers and sisters

I always knew that when I became a mom, I'd want my children to have the kind of relationship I share with my brothers.  My mom did a fantastic job fostering the love/not-so-love relationship we value so highly today.  In our adulthood, we've moved away from the 'not-so-love', as that mainly existed when we were younger and fighting over toys, privacy, bathroom/phone usage, or just being around each other far too much.  Without those little speed bumps in our feelings toward one another, however, we wouldn't have been able to develop the closeness we share today. 

My brothers are both busy and well-established businessmen, both of whom are engaged to be married next year to women who I am honored to be able to call my sister-in-laws.  They have busy schedules and other priorities besides catching up with their oldest (and only) sister, yet at least once every week or two we'll find a pocket of time that works for both of us to catch up on things, share a laugh, or have the kids get a chance to say hi to their beloved uncles.  Our conversations may not be as often as I'd like, but I treasure each of them, along with our silly inside jokes that we share via text message throughout the week.  They make the distance between Colorado and Pennsylvania seem a little less; a little easier to handle.

When my 'baby' brother called me this past spring to tell me he was going to propose, I was so thrilled to be one of the v-e-r-y few who knew of his plans.  When my middle brother called to tell me he was proposing, and when I had the opportunity to actually watch that proposal via FaceTime (thank you to my future sister-in-law!), the tears of happiness I shed were not pretty.  They were definitely from a place of happiness, but they were not pretty.  I was a blubbering mess (and extrememly grateful that the phone froze and disconnected in the frenzied excitement of her response to the proposal, so as to not subject anyone else to the emotional mess I'd become).

Next year, I'll have the honor of standing up for each of my brothers in their wedding as a bridesmaid.  Being asked to be a part of their day in such a way means a great deal to me.  I am already practicing making a more attractive 'trying-not-to-cry' face, so as not to mess up any candid shots from the ceremony that might extend to the bridal party.

Having such a close relationship with my brothers has helped shape the person I am today, and especially contributed to the way in which I raise my own children.  Granted, I have the 'opposite' of what my mom has (2 girls and 1 boy compared to the 1 girl and 2 boys), but the approach is similar.

I encourage love.  mutual respect.  fun.  laughter.  apologizing when they're wrong.  giving each other space when they need it, and hugs when they need them.  fun.  laughter.  game playing.  book reading.  teaching each other (good things, and ornery things, too).  empathy.  being sick together (so as to streamline the number of days I miss work--a skill I learned from my mom).  running.  playing pretend.  rescuing the princess from the castle.  going into battle together--nerf guns a-blazing.  helping each other in any way necessary--whether it's opening the snack cupboard or coming up with an excuse for not eating their veggies.  forgiveness.  appreciation.  cooperation.  standing up for and looking out for one another.  love.  love.  love.

The relationships that exist between my three kids are still in the developing phases.  They have many years of fights and hugs, tears and laughs ahead of them.  The important thing for me to remember is to keep the 'finish line' in mind.  While my brothers and I aren't at the 'finish line' by any means for our relationships, we have both experience as well as expereinces that we've been through together that allow us to have the closeness that we share today. 

Maya Angelou has said "I don't believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at."  I want my children to grow up sharing brotherhood and sisterhood in the way that their mom has been blessed to experience.

with my 'baby' brother, summer 2011
my middle brother, summer 2010

sisterly smiles

compassion, love
fun and learning
teaching his baby sister about T. Rex
being sick together.  for days on end.

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