NaBloPoMo: My Siblings [ties]

Oops.  Forgot to finish this yesterday

It's only been in the last year or so that I've gotten close to my younger brother (19) and my older sister (27).  Perhaps my only regret is that it didn't happen sooner.  But, as with all things in life, it happened because it should have, and it happened at this time because we all needed each other.

We grew up together, of course, went through the same traumas and the same vacations and had the same parents.  But we were always so far apart in age that becoming "friends" seemed like it might never happen.  My sister was the rebellious one--taking risks and never being afraid to do what she thought was appropriate and right, and as a result my brother and I had a MUCH easier time with our parents as we went through the same trials.  Thank you, Rachel!

My brother Will is the baby.  Smart as hell, and metabolically blessed (he's 6'4"), he deserved to be treated much better than I treated him when we were little.  It's a wonder he doesn't still hate me for all the times I locked him out of my room or punched him in the shoulder for tagging along with me.  But, apparently this is what siblings do to each other (WHY??), and we now share an amazing friendship.

I can actually remember the moment when it seemed like we were finally going to be a sibling unit instead of three people with three very separate lives.  We were in West Virginia with my dad, step-mom, my sister's boyfriend, and my ex.  The trip was an end-of-summer celebration and a last opportunity for a big family vacation before Will went off to school and my sister and her boyfriend went to Guatemala for six months.  We were staying near the New River so as to facilitate a day-long white-water rafting trip down a stretch with several challenging rapids.  Our guide's name was Graham, and most of us had NO clue what we were doing (my ex and I had gone rafting in Ecuador, and I'd been once before that).

It was a bonding experience for everyone involved.  Lots of team-building, laughs, and terrifyingly exciting moments.  We saw an entire raft flip in front of us, spilling all its passengers.  We joked about pushing each other out and laughed when we hit each others' paddles during critical moments.  And at some point, Rachel Will and I recognized that we are all grown ups, and we like each other.  It's weird and perhaps obvious to say that, but then again, loving your brother and liking him are two separate things.

So here we are, today.  Rachel is still in Guatemala.  We email and communicate via facebook and the like.  Will is at school, fratting it up big time.  I'm in New York, as you know, working and living my life in the best way possible.  We're far apart physically, but the connection remains.  Through good times, like now, we feel validated by each other's praise and vicariously-felt excitement.  Through bad times, we're there for each other, allowing pain to be felt and providing healing words.

And beneath it all is the sensation that this is just a beginning.  The future is wide open.


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A blog about social change, written from Brooklyn, New York. Currently looking for contributors.