Happy Birthday to my brother Mike!
We moved a lot and it was hard for me to be the new kid in a new place, a new house, a new school. It felt like we would just get settled, make friends, begin to feel at home and then we would have to move again. Neighbors and school buddies changed every few years. We had different babysitters or we were on our own while Mom and Dad worked. But I had my brother. Mike was the one closest to me, with whom I spent the most time, he was my friend, my protector, he was my one constant through all those years.
Of course we grew up, we went very different ways. Choices, circumstances, experiences, struggles, geography managed to come between us. As adults our worlds became filled with spouses, offspring, lots of other people, other very important stuff. We didn’t need to be there for each other like we had when we were kids.
But then Mom and Dad got sick. Then Dad got really sick and very quickly died. Once again we were in a new and very scary place and it was Mike and me facing it together.
Crisis can bring out the worst and/or best in families. It can draw people together or drive them further apart. In our extended family we have witnessed siblings, parents, in laws, aunts, uncles, cousins pitted against each other, doing/saying hurtful things and nurturing perceived slights and insults for years.
Moving into those hard days after all the years and other stuff had put some distance between us we didn’t know how we would deal with this crisis. Somehow we seemed to just come together. We faced each new difficult, painful decision or situation with little conflict and mostly caring for one another’s needs and ideas. Like when we were kids, we connected and made it through closer and stronger and blessed because of it.
Of course we are not now best friends. We still have separate, busy lives. There are still a lot of things we disagree on. Our situations are very different. And we are, after all, still sister and brother and can fight like we did when we were kids and he tormented me with his teasing and tickling and boy vs. girl stuff. But after all these years, after all we’ve been through, we know we can still depend on one another when we have to. We still have Mom to care for and that is a blessing I find precious now that Dad is gone. In looking out for her, we show our love for Dad and our love for Mom and our love for each other.
I wish to heaven we did not have to have lost Dad as we did, but I am grateful for this blessing, this rediscovery of my oldest, my first, my dearest friend, my big brother.
It is your birthday Mike. As usual I didn’t get you a card, I forgot to call in a timely manner, but I figure I cannot top this gift which Dad gave to both of us.
Happy Birthday Mike, love ya!