Saturday, September 26, 2009

Living Outside The Touch Of Time

Last night while looking for a good birthday quote for my brother, whose 41st birthday is today, I read a snippet from an old article that quoted Erica E. Goode, the author of "The Secret World of Siblings". It said, "Sibling relationships outlast marriages, survive the death of parents, resurface after quarrels that would sink any friendship. They flourish in a thousand incarnations of closeness and distance, warmth, loyalty and distrust."

I feel this way about my brother. No matter what happens over the years, to me, my relationship with him will always be one of the most important and most precious of my life; flourishing in "a thousand incarnations".

Just like Erica E. Goode says, we outlast marriages, parents, quarrels, distance, etc. I might not be physically close to my brother because I'm on the road all the time, but he is with me every day. I have a picture of him and my nephews on the wall just above my kitchen counter; I see it several times a day. My brother's wife, his kids, his friends, his job....they are part of his life, and by extension a small part of mine, but they will never keep me from him. I would fight to the death for him. I would give him my kidney. I might even give him my last
Devil Dog.

I have always felt we've had only good times. I don't count stuff that happens when you're young, quarrels and such, as having much significance, and any disagreements we've had as adults most certainly would never be something I'd give up our relationship for. Almost every sibling goes through an argument or two in their life. What's most important to me is that he's still in my life and nothing has been able to tear me away from him. Even if he did want to break away, I'd never let him. I'd quit my job and set up camp at the end of his driveway. And I'd most certainly stalk him daily. I'm a truck driver; no distance is too great for me!

In talking with a friend of mine recently, I've realized that brothers don't always see the brother-sister relationship as us girls do. My friend is a greater distance from her brother than I am from mine, yet our situations with our brothers are not so different. We've talked about how we handle the distance and what we do to keep our brothers close. We know boys are wired differently and come with no schematic, so sometimes it's frustrating and often it's challenging to have a relationship, close or otherwise with them. But in the end it's worth the work to find out what makes them tick.

For instance, my brother likes his space; I like to be right up in his face. He doesn't care what I ate for dinner or that I just saw a moose cross the road; I want to know if he likes pancakes or waffles better (pancakes) and what he watched on TV last night. He can go a week without calling me; I have to sit on my hands not to dial him several times a day. And usually when I do call, I don't even have anything to say, I just want to hear his voice. I can't tell you how many times I've called him while he was working only to hear him say, "the same thing I was doing ten minutes ago" in response to my question, "What are you doing now?" Yes, I am that annoying.

I never can fully express in words how important he is to me. How I think about and worry about him daily. How when I'm driving at night, just me and the road, I see his face as it has changed through the years; swinging from the vines in our backyard, running around the deck of my Aunt Ronni's pool with my cousins, fishing at Swan Lake with my Dad, working on his Mustang in our garage, laughing with my cousins at family gatherings, working in the kitchen at our restaurant....his face is never out of my mind. And everything I do, every day, I want to tell him about. I want to take him out on the road with me for a week to see all the wonderful things I get to see. I want to have time alone with him, all to myself. And late at night, when it's just me and the road and my memories, I think things are still the same as they used to be. Until I remember they're not.

I did eventually find a quote that I liked and it sort of sums up my thoughts. Here it is:

"To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time."


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Girls And Their Boys
Living History
Company On The Prairie
Rack Eyes


Jeni said...

I am an "only" child -no siblings -and growing up I hated this. Matter of fact, I still do. But I wanted my kids to feel exactly the way you wrote about how you feel towards your brother! I think for the most part now -as adults -they do feel this way -at least my girls would do battle for their brother, that much I know.
But the family who lived next door to me had 13 children -11 girls and 2 boys.Their 9th daughter (in a row) is the same as age me and we've remained very good, close friends over the years and I'm very close to the majority of her siblings. Right now, she is struggling as her youngest brother is extremely ill -terminal cancer -and as she said at our lunch the other day "I've lost two of my oldest sisters now and though it hurt, that was nothing compared to how I'm feeling now about Michael. After all, he's my baby brother!"
And yes, he is the baby of the family and I know how she feels about him because he is probably the closest I ever came to having a baby brother of my own and it really makes me sick thinking of life without him still being a part of it. And that's what my daughters tell me they fear will happen to them someday -that they silly, sweet, sentimental and lovable brother won't be here with them. Obviously, I loved this post for so many reasons -more than I could take apart and list but it made me realize I was successful as a parent in how my girls think about their brother! They love him unequivocally -just as my friend Rose loves her bro, Michael and as you love your brother too!
(And my word verification here is mical -is that a message or what?)

Anonymous said...

Couldn't be more perfectly said, Nee. You love Michael like I love Anthony. He's a lucky brother. Love you! Jules xoxo

Gil said...

What a beautiful story. I would say the same about my little sisters. Well, I should say younger!

all things bradbury said...

so well said!....i have no brothers and have always wished i did....i have three wonderful sisters that i would lay down my life for tho.....

Douglas Halfpenny said...

My dear girl ... You make me ponder my own life and relationships. It seems as childhood lives become entwined we as siblings forge complex and incompletely understood bonds that just stand the test of time ... until there is no more time. It seems you have once more reduced me to tears. Thanks again for sharing.
Kindest regards, Doug Halfpenny