“Our spouses arrive comparatively late in our lives; our parents eventually leave us. Our siblings may be the only people we’ll ever know who truly qualify as partners for life.”
–Time Magazine 7/2/96
My younger brother turns sixty on Saturday. He still reminds me about how I told him on my tenth birthday that I would no longer fight with him because I had two numbers in my age. Even at eight, he could appreciate a good joke. He has been my fellow traveler, my playmate, my provocateur, my “cell mate,” my counselor, my protector and my friend. There is no one in the world who knows me better: who I was and who I have become. Having survived a difficult childhood, we share the same family jokes and the same scars. He knows what makes me bleed; I know what breaks his heart. We have turned to each other when the world has turned dark. We have turned to each other to celebrate happy occasions. We have reached out to each other’s spouses and children. We trust each other to figure out how to take care of our mother. We keep each other grounded. How lucky we are to have each other.
So I forgive you for trying to fix me up with Steve, the orderly from the State Hospital, for reading my diary, for watching me kiss my boyfriends good night, for crossing the invisible line in the car seat, for pinching me when we went up the stairs and more. I hope you forgive me for being too quick to slap, call you names, or freak out at you. Let’s always remember Saturday nights in front of the TV with grandma, knocking on the wall on Sunday morning to let each other know we wanted company in our rooms, playing catch on a summer evening, driving you on dates, and washing up at our double sinks while chatting about life. You’re the best! Happy Birthday and many, many more to come!
“Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply.” – Jane Austin, Mansfield Park