Little siblings

I never had little siblings, younger brothers or sisters… I was the baby of many, and by a bit.

My eldest sister would be mistaken as my mother whenever we would go out places… eleven and a half years difference can do that.

And so, I grew up learning loads of things not to do, loads of mistakes not to bother making, because at least one of my older siblings did that thing, made that mistake, and I learned the result long before I might have considered doing any of it myself.

Therefore, I’ve always struggled to understand what it could be like, having your younger sister in grammar school or still in high school… going to their terrible school performances or sports games… my siblings were all older by a good amount, so their performances and games were always awesome to me – in my child mind, they could have been pro compared to my own performances or games at the same time.

Tonight, I ran into two old classmates who were attending the art show of their little sister… and it reminded me that people actually do that, come back to the high school because of the younger sibling… I’d forgotten.

I’d thought people only really returned to visit for themselves, see old teachers and new buildings… that sort of thing… or to work there.

As I pondered how odd that idea feels, I suddenly recalled that I actually can relate a little bit.

You see, it’s almost like I have a borrowed younger sister.

My best friend lives in England, but her youngest sister lives in Houston, and she’s in high school right now.

Though I mostly am at the school for work purposes, I occasionally arrange my schedule around seeing her or spending time with her.

For the art show tonight, I had already planned to attend it, because it is always amazing.

However, I also knew that she would be performing in it, and so made sure to arrange accordingly to be there when she performed.

I always record her performance, and send it to her sister, who, naturally, is too far to make the trip for a short little performance every time.

So, in a way, I have a borrowed little sister: my best friend’s little sister.

It’s not exactly the same as her being my real sister, because I’d have attended loads more of her events and such…, but it has enough similarities for me to be able, ever so slightly, to relate to those who have younger siblings.

You know what I mean?

Post-a-day 2019

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Beer run?

‘Okay, I’m stopping at the grocer on my way out there.’

‘Oh, since you’re stopping at the grocer, will you pick up some (hard) cider for me?’

He then gives me the details of his preferences on cidre, and we settle a plan…

“Haha…,” he continues, a bit nerdily and excited, “I’ve never had my little sister buy me alcohol before.”

We both had a dorky chuckle at this idea, mostly because we knew how the rest of our family had been growing up, as well as how unlike them I had been, simply uninterested in alcohol, let alone getting someone to buy any for me.

…..

Separately, when actually at the store, two girls who work there were telling me about the cidres sold, and kept suggesting I get a ‘sneaky’ one, so that I could ‘get him drunk’, and they kept chuckling at how their boyfriends are always surprised with sweet drinks that have high alcoholic content and leave them drunk, when they had thought they were totally fine… I didn’t entirely disapprove, since it’s people who matter to the girls, but I wasn’t exactly a proponent of the behavior in the first place…

When they remembered that I had said “for my brother”, their tunes changed and they gave me genuine flavor information on the different cidres, instead of just talking about getting something sweet. 😛

The irony of it all was how I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d purchased alcohol, let alone purchased any for my own consumption (not that these were for me, of course), and it felt extra-silly carrying out the cidres… I felt so totally out of place, not unlike an underaged kid sister trying to sneak alcohol for her brother’s party…

My extra consolation was in the fact that he really doesn’t drink much in the first place either, but wanted some drinks because he is on vacation (and even then only a few, because there’s an intense CrossFit class awaiting him in the morning). 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Memories

My cousin and I were talking tonight about old, old memories in our lives.

Growing up, I had a situation that was incredibly unique at the time (and that still is a bit unique nowadays), in which my parents each had children from a previous spouse, only had me together, married when I was three, and divorced one another when I was four.

My siblings on my mom’s side not only lived in the same neighborhood as I did, but my mom and I were regularly at their dad’s house, spending time with them and, even, their dad, who was my mom’s first husband, but with whom my mom was no longer involved in such a relationship.

My siblings on my dad’s side moved to Georgia (until they kind of moved back, off and on, one by one, starting when I was about nine), and so were only around for certain holidays and for what I guess to have been about a month each summer.

My cousin pointed out that she remembered being often at the place my mom and I lived for many years together after she split up from my dad, the one that was in the neighborhood with my brothers and their dad.

I, too, recalled that they often were there visiting us, and we often were at their house (two hours away, by the way) visiting them.

She then presented the interesting and confounding concept of accepting the idea of someone seeing one’s cousins more often than seeing one’s own siblings…, because that’s really how it was in the first decade and a half of my life, so far as my mom’s sister’s children and my dad’s children were concerned.

I have many more memories from earlier childhood with those cousins than I do with my siblings on my dad’s side.

Certainly, I saw my brothers from my mom all the time, almost daily…, but my cousins were, as I can pull up old school activities and projects to show, some of my favorite people in the world, and they were often on my mind, because I saw them often…, such was not the case with my siblings on my dad’s side.

Sure, I cared about them, and I had spectacular memories from the brief time we all spent in the same house when my parents were married to one another, but I really think we could say that I had more a relationship with and attitude towards them that people have with cousins, rather than one with siblings.

So, my half brothers were like my brothers, my cousins were like my half siblings, and my other half siblings were like my cousins… relationship- and attitude-wise, anyway.

Kind of crazy, huh?

I hadn’t really ever thought much about it, because, as my cousin also pointed out tonight, it can be amazing what kinds of things we just accept as children, not concerned in the least about whether they are uncommon or absurd.

I guess the absurdity doesn’t surprise me, of course, because, well, even now, absurd is normal in my life, as this same cousin so graciously pointed out to me a few years ago. 😛

Post-a-day 2019

My brother’s birthday

Today was the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice.

Today also was my brother’s birthday.

It was wonderful – I got to devote almost my entire day to delighting, empowering, and loving someone else, and it happened to be someone who openly appreciated it all and who truly experienced the love from all of us around him.

I’m not so sure there is much of a better feeling to be had than that…

Perhaps this could be something I organize doing more often, and not merely for special occasions… it is just so wonderful.

Post-a-day 2018

What happened today

I got out of bed at 3:45am, and met my friend outside at about 4:10am to drive to the airport.

I flew in an airplane to Chicago, where I met my cousins and then drove to Wisconsin.

We met with my brother and his friend at Devil’s Lake, and then hiked about six miles together around the lake.

We admired willingly the spectacular and deep-breathing-inspiring colors of the Fall, and awed at a Bald Eagle who flew over the lake for a bit.

We checked into our joined suite rooms, and then dunes down the street at an all-you-can-eat Mongolian stir-fry place, each eating more than we’d intended.

We gathered in the joined living area of the suite rooms, sipped digestifs, chatted about nonsense, played ukulele, practiced/learned some yoga and some acro-yoga, talked about nerd stuff, joked about my brother’s classmates back in college who argued about some terms in calculus, cracked up when my cousins began to argue about those terms in calculus, and consciously enjoyed our collective company.

I chatted more with my brother as he prepared for bed and I, unknowingly, was locked out of my room.

We laughed, and, eventually, I gained access back into my room with my cousins.

My cousin and I listened to voicemails from our grandparents, filled with wholesome delight.

I took the first good shower I’ve had in months (since the one where I’m living has been quite the nonsensical mess since I moved in there), and reminisced about Japanese onsen while I untangled a crazy knot in my extremely long hair.

I earned another badge in my Fitbit, because I walked over 22,000 steps today.

I stayed awake and in a good mood for over 19 hours.

I breathed easily almost the entire day, for the first time in a long while (it has felt, anyway).

I was myself, and so were the others, and we were spectacular.

I and we did good today, both grammatically correctly and incorrectly. 😉

Post-a-day 2018

My oldest brother, the eldest nerd of us

Another of my most beloved memories is the time my eldest brother and I went through the top ten logical fallacies together.  He’s a total skeptic – not just in life in general, but he actually identifies as “a skeptic” – and we’re both total nerds, so, out of some conversation one day came the discussion of what a logical fallacy was.  Utterly intrigued at how he explained them, I wanted to know more than just an example or two.  And so, we printed out a list of the top ten most common logical fallacies people use in arguments, each with a brief description with the name of it, and he and I went through the list, one by one.

I would read the name of the fallacy and the brief description, and then I would see if I could come up with another way of saying it and with an example.  He would help me whenever I was unsure or stuck in my understanding.  It was a fun activity for the two of us, he getting to be the teacher of something he loved and I getting to learn something I found fascinating, and both of us getting to bond further with the other, not just in spending time with one another, but also getting to be nerdy together.

What I find most silly about this was that, as I recall, this was around my brother’s second or third year in college.  That’s silly, you see, because that made me 12 or 13 years old.  What 13-year-old do you know who references logical fallacies in the middle of discussions, kindly informing the user of the fallacy that his or her point was, due to the use of the fallacy, invalid?  Indeed, I don’t know any children at all who do that, and I teach high school.  However, I believe that also was right around the time that I started reading a book on quantum physics (because I found what I had learned about it in a documentary to be fascinating, and so I’d bought one of the most popular books by one of the speakers in the documentary [whose name and book title I’d had to memorize carefully when I saw them at the end of the film, because the Internet wasn’t quite a thing yet then, let alone IMDb]).

So, to this day, I still love nerding out with my brother (though it happens with more family members than just with him, he’s the point of this brief trip down Memory Lane). I’m preparing to go visit him in just a few weeks, and I’m looking forward especially just to sitting around and hanging out with him, because the enthusiasm and excitement that arises in our conversations is always spectacular.  Nonsense shared is never just a nonsense with us – something nerdy and smart inevitably arises from the stupidest and silliest of comments, making the nonsense oddly sensible and, usually, quite comical in the utter dorki-/nerdiness of it.

Post-a-day 2018

CrossFit Games

I don’t even do CrossFit, but I watched the end of the 2018 CrossFit Games today, because my brother was super excited about it, and he attended it all weekend in Madison, Wisconsin.  Not even four minutes into it, I was balling.  And, from that point onward, I continued having bouts of extreme tears all over the place until the very end of the Games.  It’s just that kind of thing.  I’ve done and been part of plenty of sports to be able to relate to so many of the feelings and situations and emotions, that I felt as though I could feel their struggles and successes.  Add the comments about how the whole goal of doing CrossFit is to be better as a person than one was yesterday, and it’s just a total tear fest.

I’m still not sure that I want to do CrossFit myself, but it was really neat to watch the nonsense that was the final round of the 2018 CrossFit Games.

Post-a-day 2018