Not all that long ago I was feeling a little sorry for myself. It was very ridiculous really. One afternoon, watching our girls laugh and play together so incredibly well that you would have thought someone was filming a Hallmark commercial in our living room, I started to get a little jealous of their relationship. I know many friends who have a sister for a sibling, and as we've all aged and come into new roles in our adulthood it's so amazing to watch how their relationships have grown. When two sisters become mothers around the same time it's especially fun to watch. Sisters raising their kids together is something beautiful to witness. There's a kind of seamlessness about it. I am beyond giddy that some day, hopefully, our girls will get to experience this firsthand. Sometimes I daydream about what our home will be like when they both return home with their own children, taking care of each others as though their own. There's an element to that in every family, but from my outsiders opinions I think there's something about it that takes it to a different level between sisters.
So there I was, feeling sorry for myself because I don't have a sister. As most of you know, I have a younger brother. He is two years younger than me and until the day I left for college I basically viewed him as the biggest butthead to ever walk the face of the Earth. He was in every way your typical younger brother. He knew how to push my buttons, could send me into a hysterical emotional breakdown without even trying, and could get me to lose my cool with the greatest of ease. Sure we had some fun times in there - usually when we were joined together against the force known as Crabby Mom - but he definitely wore the crown of Annoying Younger Brother well.
You want to know something though? That annoying little brother has grown up to be one hell of a guy. His sometimes abrasive exterior often hides the fact that he has a heart bigger than anyone else I know. His vulgar behavior (usually taking the form of noxious fumes emissions) overshadows his willingness to help someone in need. There is little that is more comforting than knowing that when I need him, he'll be there.
Take today for example. My car has been acting up for the past couple of weeks. A visit to our trusted mechanic revealed no known case based on the symptoms reported, yet today after church I found myself stranded in the parking lot with two little girls and one dead car. My first call was to The General mostly because it was cold and I wanted a ride home. Immediately after hanging up with him, though, I put in a call to my brother. Two hours out from the most important game of the year for Bears fans, my brother talked me through probable solutions to the problem and informed me that he would make the one hour trip after the game to get my car if for no other reason than to save me the expense of towing service. Seven hours later with his wife (who is also a saint for sometimes - okay often - having to take the backseat thanks to those same characteristic traits of her husband that I praised above) and two friends in tow, he was able to diagnose and fix my car in no time flat from the filtered light of a parking lot in temperatures well below freezing.
Now, of all the sisters that I know, none would be able to do that for their sibling (even in their heart was willing).
As they pulled into our driveway tonight with my car, my brother's own vehicle broke down. He was missing another football game, drove two hours round trip out of his way, was looking at coming back to repair his own vehicle after putting in a full day at work tomorrow, and still he walked into our house with a big smile on his face asking for hugs and giving unbridled love to his nieces.
Tonight sort of put my selfish jealousy into perspective. No, I don't have a sister to share war stories of the most personal nature with. But I have a brother who will change his own plans to take care of me when I need him, a brother who loves my children fiercely, a brother who shares a history with me like no one else ever will, a brother who I -despite our differences growing up - am proud to call my friend.
I guess you did an okay job raising him after all, mom & dad.