ADORE: to regard with loving admiration and devotion; to be very fond of
Today is my brother’s birthday. He’s my youngest brother, but not my younger brother. He outranks me by 8½ years. I have found myself on more than one occasion in my adult life introducing myself to someone he knows as “M’s little sister.” That’s still how I see myself. I love my brother and am all too happy to claim him as part of my identity.
My brother’s influence on my life is unquantifiable. He has been thoughtful and supportive in big and small ways. My childhood memories are peppered with his loving gestures. He taught me how to throw and catch so that I could go to my first softball practice with confidence. He taught me how to use hairspray to get 80’s bangs and put my hair in side pony tails before school. He took me on my first backpacking trip and was by my side when I got my first stamp in my passport. He insisted I go to college and helped me understand the steps I needed to take to make it happen. He located, inspected and negotiated the purchase of my second car.
When I was living in Denver after college, he flew out for an unannounced visit and his first order of business was to count the number of toothbrushes in my vanity to make sure I was indeed living alone. His less than enthusiastic response to my city-slicker boyfriend at the time likely saved me from a failed marriage. For my bridal shower, he gave me burlap sack lingerie. On my wedding day, he walked me down the aisle. He was the only one who told me the truth about the transition from one kid to two.
When I think about my brother, I can’t help but think about my son. They have many similarities. They are compassionate, curious, and capable; they both use words sparingly but purposefully. As I watch Son and Daughter together, I recognize how precious big brother/little sister relationships are. Big brothers protect and lead and teach; little sisters adore and follow and absorb. Both receive blessings. It is magical to watch.
My childhood adoration of my brother has continued into adulthood. Sometimes I have to remind myself that he isn’t actually invincible and that he doesn’t possess super powers.
By no means a reflection of my gratitude for the decades of love, protection, wilderness guide services and handy-man skills, I (once again) failed to get a birthday card in the mail on time. Here goes Plan B:
Happy birthday M!
I am so lucky to be your little sister.
And by little, I mean younger. Much younger.
Geez, you’re old.
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