My brother asked me if I was doing a carry-on bag for our trip.
I told him that I was, and he said that he was hoping/planning to do the same for the whole trip (with an exclamation point at the end!).
That was in text messages.
Talking over the phone a little while later, after our tickets (one set of them, anyway) were booked, we discussed the bags again, and the matter of bringing only a carry-on bag plus a purse.
‘My biggest concern right now is really what watch I’m gonna bring,’ he says to me.
‘I know what watch I’m bringing!’ I counter, and my mom laughs behind me, knowing full well what my brother must have just said, and laughing at him for it (not at my comment alone).
I only currently wear the watch this same brother gave to me several months ago.
It is awesome, and I wear it lovingly and with pride at the company, at my brother for finding and supporting it, and a little at myself for wearing it.
My brother knows this, and so does my mother, so we all got my teasing joke of a comment, and, once I told my brother that Mom was laughing, we all laughed at his dilemma.
My brother has an entire collection of watches, each one different from the rest, and all of them stellar quality and style…, and I would guess that they add up to around a hundred thousand dollars altogether…
He typically travels with three watches as a minimum – a casual chic, a sport, and a work watch that doubles as formal.
Sometimes, I believe, he brings something like seven, when it’s a longer trip, and he’ll have varied activities in which to participate and events to attend.
I always bring my one watch, and simply remove it whenever I do sport.
(The moment this company comes out with a sports-safe version of their watches, however, I am totally likely to have two watches, and quite suddenly so…. until that time, however, I have just the one.)
We absolutely love my brother’s love of watches, and I laud him for and value his efforts in creating watches with an awesome private watch company that has begun to make watches for him and to use him and his sports to create advertising for their watches…. frankly, he has done what we all dream to do, by turning a dorky passion into something that not only allows him to pursue his passion but to be encouraged in it and to be paid through it, all while always having a wonderful time with it all.
I am proud to share blood with him, and I love having fun with him around his love of watches (and many other things, too, actually).
At the end of our call, I ask him how the boating went with his friends earlier.
He tells me that he took some pictures, and so he’ll send me something.
After a few moments of flipping through photos, he sends me a wrist shot of the watch his buddy temporarily swapped him for two of his watches…
Seriously, brother?… You went boating, and you took pictures, and the only photo that actually comes out of it all is one of your wrist and a watch, where you really can’t tell that you’re out on a boat in the first place?
But, for him, of course it is. 😛
And, to be fair, when I saw the photo, while my secondary comment and thought related to the aforementioned concept, my first thought and comment were immediate: “His Carbotech!”
I knew exactly what watch it was, and even I was excited that my brother was getting to wear this watch… 😛
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.
‘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). 😛
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. 😛
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.
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. 😉