Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sibling Joy

I was the caboose of the family. The surprise.

My oldest brother was 13 when I was born. When I was a couple weeks old, and he was watching me while my mother was away, he carried me (under my armpits) down the street to his friend's house a few blocks away to show me off. It's the classic Don and Cheryl story.

My other brother was 10 when I was born. The first thing he said when he saw me was, "That's MY baby." And so I was for the next seven years. He adored me and loved me to bits. He dropped out of high school when he was 17 to join the navy, and I was heartbroken and cried for two weeks. The "my baby" is the classic Mitch and Cheryl story.

My sister was seven when I was born. Beforehand, she always told my mom that she was praying for a little sister so she would have a friend. After I arrived, she felt differently. She wasn't the baby anymore. Later on in life, when I was excelling at school and she was struggling through, she resented me even more. When I was in college, she got a divorce and started school herself. We were roommates. So started our relationship as adults. It's been rocky, but we're at a good place now, both mothers now, both happily married. The "praying for then resenting" is the classic Jolene and Cheryl story.

Everyday, there are little Ben and Anna stories happening all the time. I marvel at how Ben interacts with her, and every moment feels special and phenomenal. I wonder how they'll be together when she's one and he's nearly three. Or when she's four and he's nearly six. What will their friendship be like? Will they be inseparable best buds?

I didn't have a sibling close to my own age. My sister wasn't around much when she was in high school (issues), and my brothers were long gone, both in the military. I felt like an only child. I played by myself, and I had Mom and Dad to myself well before I hit puberty. I don't know what it's like to have to share or argue or get along with my brothers or my sister. I don't know what is in store for Ben.

I do know that we're off to a good start.