Am I my brother’s keeper? I hope so. He has certainly been mine over the years.

Photograph (3)

I just finished a telephone conversation with my younger brother. Hadn’t spoken to him in much too long so it was an agreeable thing. It’s always an agreeable thing, mainly because I both love and like my brother.

All things considered I should have been a seething mass of sibling rivalry when my brother was born. I was five then and I’d had the world all to myself for half a decade. My parents were mine and my grandparents were mine and in the manner of children, I did believe I owned those people. And then this mewling, puking, pooping little wretch came upon the scene and disrupted everything.

Yet, I don’t remember feeling in any way Freudian about the matter. When you are five a crying baby doesn’t cause you too much angst. And since my mother wasn’t particularly doting I don’t recall feeling a dearth of her presence or any sort of divided affection. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I simply don’t remember such a thing.

I think I was maybe a strange child, but when adults oohed and aahed about how cute my baby brother was, I kind of agreed with them. I thought he was kinda cute, too.

Anyway, as years went by nothing much changed between the two of us. In the photo you can see me looking at my dorky best at about age 11. Of course we fought. Fought like hellions. We were siblings. And we were left with no residual hard feelings. We also found a certain amount of unity was to be valued in dealing with the parental units. It’s invaluable to have an ally.

We both went in different directions as time went by. I was much more academic and in that I tapped into my artsy-fartsy mother’s gene pool in terms of talents. She too wrote and painted. My brother was like the old man, mechanical and creative in the realms of dirty fingernails. No surprise he ended up in the automotive industry.

But, in so saying, it doesn’t mean it was ever a contest of intellects. My brother is a bright guy and in some realms I cannot hold a candle to him. That shows in the way we discuss.

We discuss all and everything: newsworthy stuff, TV, films, music – he is immensely knowledgeable about music of all genres from virtually every generation – people, family members, and we can go on for hours and hours.

As years went by we grew closer and found we had much more in common than we had thought, and indeed that we had in common when we were younger. Added to which, and I must add, I found out what a truly cherished brother he was when I went through a bad patch after the breakup of my 2nd marriage. I called him and my sister-in-law often and they both rallied with amazing amounts of moral support for me. I think it was the first time I had ever reached out to family in such a manner and their stalwart help was invaluable to me. They aided me in making it through a rough time, and I will never forget what they did.

So that’s it. My testament to my bro.

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8 responses to “Am I my brother’s keeper? I hope so. He has certainly been mine over the years.

  1. Nice. I too, value my brother and know what you mean about being allies. Actually, looking back, I think Dad did that on purpose. I think he used his knowledge of being a drill sergeant and getting the troops to bond on us. It worked.

  2. It’s a very nice testament, indeed.

  3. I love my 2 brothers and sister, all younger than me, yet I was the last to mature. But I am much closer to my dearest friend who I have known since 1967. She lives about 3 1/2 hrs from me yet we get together often. I have seen her more in the last 16 years in Oregon than I have seen any of my family! We are there for each other, supportive through all we have been through in our lives. She was so supportive and there when my husband died Nov 2012 and she wept with me. I trust her with my life. I just do not have that bond with my siblings. Kinda sad.

  4. My brother and sister and i are close – without really being close (does that even make sense?). We don’t see each other all that much, we don’t talk terribly often, but we are there for each other when we need one another. Always.

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