i've always wanted a big family.
the bulk of my childhood was just me and my mom. i know God makes no mistakes, and the time we had together truly was priceless. my mom and i have a bond and an intimacy like very few. its something that sustains and encourages me on a daily basis, and for that i am eternally grateful. however i can't help but wonder sometimes what it would have been like if my parents had stayed married and i got to re-capture those formative years with a sibling...
not just any sibling, but my only sibling...
my brother matt is seven years older than me. when our parents divorced, i was eight and matt was fifteen. he went to live with my dad and i stayed with my mom. but regardless of the divorce, our age difference was so vast that we never really stood a chance to connect in our youth anyway. while he was shaving his head and 'cruising for chicks' i was playing with care bears and kittens, and as he smoked his first joint, i got to drink my first soda pop. his idea of bonding was a solid punch in the arm or flicking boogers at me. in its plainest form, i had nothing to offer. and honestly, with the age and gender gap, i wasn't even sure what to think or do with him. and then before i knew it, he left SLO all together and what little contact we had pretty much vanished.
with that said, i do have quite a few memories of him in those years. matt has always pushed the limits... whether its playing with matches one to many times and lighting our whole backyard on fire, or taking me for rides on his motorcycle with no helmet...
if i had to sum it up, my brother was cool.
not like jonas brother's cool, but like john bender from breakfast club cool. he played hard, and partied even harder. after he left SLO i know very little about his years in colorado and florida. the few stories i have heard, don't even rival me on my wildest night.
however, time has a way of giving us back what we lost, cuz after 2 pitiful years at UCSC i came back to SLO and moved into a little house on church street with my mom. not 2 months later my brother landed back home in one piece ready to get his s*it together. he began his academic journey at cuesta. even though it took him a little bit longer than some of us to get back to school, once he did take the plunge, he really found his calling-- a calling that has landed him his own incredibly successful consulting firm at the young age of 35.
our time on church street really allowed us to get re-acquainted. it was an incredibly formative time for myself as i was exiting a grueling 3 yr relationship with my high school boyfriend and trying to find myself again. it wasn't long before i quit pinching from his stash and turned in the ol peace pipe for a bible. i'm sure it was incredibly confusing for him to watch what little ground we had gained be lost in his mind, as i launched into a world he knew little about.
as our time on church street ended and matt made his way to the heart of the redwoods to finish his schooling, the distance came upon us again. this time not due to age or gender, but simply due to proximity. now adults, we talked on the phone every so often, but it wasn't until he got married and had his first child that i feel like things really changed.
my brother scored. he married an amazing woman. someone who is able and willingly to love him un-conditionally... and if that wasn't enough god gave them an absolutely delightful little girl. since my sister in law is a teacher and my brother's consulting firms season is the summer, it enabled him to be almost a full-time stay at home dad. with him being at home, he began calling me all the time. it was awesome. we'd talk about everything... parenting, god, marriage, drugs-- nothing was off limits. i felt like we connected on a whole new level, and an intimacy was forged between us that i know cannot be altered.
in this time i got to know my brother again. there really is so much to love. the guy is first of all hilarious- like most of us on the richmond side. b always trips out on how weird and funny we all are when we get together. but like his funny side, matt has a real sensitive side as well. we often joke that he's like mom and i'm like our dad. quick example- when the swine flu hysteria hit, both of them bought their masks on the first day and stocked their pantry's for the impending epidemic, while my dad and i sat back and watched the hysteria die. matt was the first person to ever tell me why i should eat organic, and why i should care about the earth. he's not just green like trader joe's or new frontiers, he's green like food co-op's and bags of weird herbs (yes that one too) and grains. recently when he came to visit he was taking shots of clay every morning. yes clay, like in pottery class clay people. he was the first to tell me about pork parasites and the mucoid plaque, and the first to love me enough to tell my why all of this matters and not just shout it in my face.
as my kids get older, i finally get to see their small age gap working in my favor... though they fight like banchi's, they love just as hard. i see lily guiding and encouraging oz, and i see oz helping lily to break away from her dolls and polly pockets and cut loose with thomas or crash monster trucks together. the other day i was wasting copious amounts of time
on fb paying bills and i heard lily and oz in their room playing trains. it was so sweet to hear their little imaginative train voices as they created scenarios on the island of sodor. i felt such a longing, and just a twinge of envy as i realized that i missed so many years of that with my own brother. but then i remembered that god heals us in time, and now i have in a brother more than i ever could have imagined...
so on your 38th birthday matt, i want you to know, i love you more than ever. and i am so thankful that God gave me you as my one and only sibling.