To read all the posts in the 31 Days series, click here.
He’s started to gray, a tiny bit, around the temples and definitely in the scruff on his chin. He wears (cool, hipster) glasses to read, and was very, very concerned about getting the temporary parking pass replaced so he didn’t get ticketed. He left 45 minutes before the event started since he’d rather be early than late and really likes to play by All of the Rules. (Now.)
37 years later, and I’m still stunned that my little brother continues to grow up.
Do we all do this — us with younger siblings? Do they always stay 13 years old in our mind, slightly awkward and freckly too cool for school?
We live on opposite coasts with thousands of miles of land and life separating us. We don’t physically see each other often, but when we do we pick up where we left off and make fun of each other’s quirks and perform the same dance moves that always reduce us to crying laughter. We share about life struggles and core beliefs and values, and even though we agree to disagree on some (well, most) things, we always leave with tremendous respect and unending love for each other.
It’s been such an unexpected surprise to watch the parallels between all of us in this Big Sister/Little Brother weekend at the beach. I’ve watched the relationship between Jaana and Paxton and realized it’s almost identical to the relationship between my brother and me — the laughter, the tensions, the play, the annoyances, the love. I’ve watched how connected that relationship is with my kids, and they’ve watched how connected my brother and I still are, regardless of years and miles and differences.
It’s a pretty amazing gift, I’m realizing. For all of us.
You know, we’re given these people and these relationships on earth, and we accept them solely because they’re wrapped up in a single word — family. And because of that, we choose to agree to disagree; we choose to love, regardless; we choose to respect each other despite beliefs, quirks, annoyances. We choose to laugh, love and play. We choose to love in spite of and because of all these things — simply because we’re being who we are with the ones who are being who they are. No pretense, no facade, no images to project. Just freedom to be who you are, in the freedom of who they are.
And sometimes that being in freedom together makes you realize that the thousands of miles of land and life can grow a person up. It can make them gray around the temples ever so slightly. It can adjust eyesight. It can bring out the inner PePaw in a man.
But mostly, it just makes you love them that much more.
Especially when they do a cartwheel in the middle of the ice cream shop just to make your kids laugh.