I'm the youngest, the baby, of three children in my family of origin. These days, that makes me a fifty-six-year-old baby. And those cute rolls on my arms and legs are starting to come back.
|Steve and me|
I remember once when I was probably in first grade I cried to my mom about, "Why doesn't Steve like me?" I have no idea what prompted the emotional scene. My mom hugged me and assured me Steve loved me. She went on to say that if someone ever picked on me, Steve would be right there to stick up for me. I have no idea if that was true since the situation never presented itself, but it changed my perspective. Steve wasn't my playmate. He was my protector.
That made all the difference for me. From that day on, in the back of my mind was always the thought that Steve cared for me. He'd be there for me. He even loved me in his own stoic way, or at least that's what I liked to think. And it seems I was right.
Now, living in different states, we call each other every year on our birthdays. Our interests are more alike. We love our families and want to hear updates about each member. We both like to travel a bit and talk about our vacations. We both own homes and enjoy discussing our latest home improvement or maintenance projects. I fill him in on our mom, who lives near me, and how she's doing. And at the close of every phone call, we end with an exchange of heartfelt "I love yous." The same is true when one of us visits. We greet each other with hugs and kisses and then say good-bye the same way, only with tears in our eyes. Isn't it funny how life changes things?
I'm thankful for my big brother. He's still my protector in many ways. When our dad died ten years ago, Steve was in town and delivered the sad news to me. I went immediately to meet them at the hospice where Dad still laid. Steve urged me not to go in to see him because he didn't look good. I didn't listen, saying I didn't care. I just needed to see him once more. Steve silently nodded, understanding my heart. As I stood by Dad's bed, it was Steve who came to me a few minutes later to put his arm around me and gently lead me back out of the room, my final good-bye complete.
He was there for me, caring for and protecting me, just like our mom said he would be.
Do you have a brother? What role does he play in your life? Are you closer now or when you were kids?