Saturday, February 9, 2013

Growing Together

     Yesterday, I met up for lunch with my brother, my sole sibling.  It made my day.  We live an hour's drive apart and even though we see each other when our families get together a couple of times a year, meeting up for lunch is something my brother and I do every few months as well.  Just the two of us.  It was not always so.   
     In the early years we were close, sharing a bedroom and playing together most of the time.  We grew apart in our teens as we developed contrasting interests and hobbies -  not uncommon for a sister and brother.  As young adults busy raising families, we rarely saw each other outside of familial obligations such as Christmas and birthday dinners.  Misunderstandings, as well as taxing birth family dynamics, contributed to keeping us from wanting to connect outside of these events.  
     Then, life began throwing us opportunities to turn our relationship around.  The first noticeable shift began a decade ago, after our mother's death, when we occasionally began spending time together outside of the expected family get-togethers.  During that time, my teen-aged son began developing a deep bond with his adored uncle, which led to my brother and I connecting more often.  Four years ago, our relationship was further strengthened when we simultaneously became estranged from our father.  That was when our lunch dates became more regular.  We finally understood how much we mattered to each other.  Then, Michael's death occurred, which subsequently deepened the connection between my brother and me, to the point where we now check in with each other every couple of weeks.      
     My brother and I still have very different interests and hobbies.  Our lifestyles do not have much in common, either.  However, through facing our shared family challenges together, we have now arrived in a place where we do not take each other for granted, support each other in everything we do, and are fully aware that the other has our back - valuable gifts we have gained from our losses.  

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