My oldest brother got married this past weekend, and for the first time since our father’s passing my four older siblings and I were in the same place. It’s always a bit strange seeing us together, because the time that passes in between such events is always significantly long enough for a few big changes to have happened for some (if not all) of us.
Hindsight convinces me time and time again that, had we been raised by different parents, after a certain point we might have never spoken to one another again. All of us have always had big personalities, and while we were growing up those personalities sometimes caused family time to descend into emotional anarchy.
Yet here we are – all of us finally in our adult lives, filling out those personalities with maturity and respect for one another. I have to point out that our sisters, being several years older than my brothers and I, made it to this point ages ago while we three younger siblings were still figuring out the basics. But now that we have all been living in the grown-up world for several years and making our separate ways through it, perceptions have changed, and we can now see each other for who we really are and appreciate more the traits in each other that we previously took for granted. And not only that – we have also come to see facets of our personalities that we never noticed before, both in each other and ourselves.
The night of the rehearsal dinner, the five of us recreated the sibling portrait that was photographed twenty years ago. Looking at the two photos side by side, it makes me laugh and warms my heart each time. We’re definitely all different, but in little ways we’re all the same. The original photo captured those big personalities in our younger selves, and the recreation captured those same personalities expressed and handled by more mature and grown-up people.
If there is one thing that I took away from this whirlwind wedding weekend, it was the utmost importance of my siblings and the presence of each one of them in my life.
These are the first minds that taught me how to see the world from different perspectives and to think for myself. These are the hands that slap sense to me as well as soothe my wounds. These are the hearts that love me even when I am not the least bit likable; the arms that catch me when I fall; the voices that answer late-night, cross-country phone calls. These are the smiles that brighten up every room and the wits that brighten every conversation.
We might not always like each other, but we do always love each other. And I know that I can count on my siblings to be there for me and to stand with me on the day when it will be my turn to bring a new brother into their hearts, and that they will help be bring a new son into our mother’s.