Saturday, July 24, 2010

Brothers and Sisters

Pinakbets: (From left to right) my cousin Karl (holding a purse!), me, my cousin Erik, Anthony, Greg, and Mario (bottom)... at my dad's house, where he still lives today

As most sibling relationships go, I didn't truly appreciate my three brothers until after I left home and transitioned into adulthood. Of course I have countless memories with each of my brothers that I hold dear to my heart. We've shared laughter, pain, and of course... mischief.

One of my favorite childhood memories of my oldest brother Anthony is when he taught me to draw a star when I was very very little. I remember him wrapping his hand around my right hand as it gripped a pencil, and showing me how to draw those five little lines over and over again until I was able to do it by myself. I can't remember if I had asked him to teach me, but I have a feeling that he just decided to do it on a whim. What I love about this memory is that it is simple, sweet, and most of all, holds such weight since the star is a symbol that I have come to cherish for many reasons.

My absolute favorite memory of my older brother Greg is one that I don't think I've ever told anyone. We were on the phone, and I had recently moved to Phoenix. He would have been 20 and I would have been 18. He himself had just come to appreciate the value of family after having spent some difficult time living in the Midwest. As a youth, all I could think about was getting away from my family, and he likely sensed that I was now missing them all. At the end of our conversation, he told me he loved me right before hanging up. We weren't an affectionate family when I was a child, so the love I felt in his words gave me an especially significant jolt of happiness. I always remember that conversation, and still feel it when he says it today - at the end of almost every one of our phone conversations.

One of my favorite memories of my younger brother Mario is also a sad one that I don't often share. I'm not sure how old we were, but I would guess that I was fourteen and he was twelve (or maybe it was thirteen and eleven... either way I'm sure he was already taller than me by then). No one could find him anywhere, so I left the house to look for him. I discovered his hiding place just a few blocks away from home. He had run away for reasons that I remember with frightening clarity, but won't detail here. I looked into his eyes, and felt an overwhelming need to take care of him; I could see that he needed me, and was desperate. We ran off together, walking many, many miles to the place that I thought would be an appropriate haven. Despite our pleas, we were eventually sent back home. I will always remember the closeness I felt to him that day. Though he's less than two years younger than me (and now more than a foot taller), I felt like a big sister that day, and will never forget the way that experience bonded us together.

All that leads me to what I suppose was the intent of this post. I always wanted a sister. Of course I have a wonderful bond with my brothers individually and as a collective family... but I always wanted someone to giggle with. I wanted someone to play dress-up with, swoon over boys with, and tell girly secrets to. (I suppose that was why I was so close to my twin cousins, but that is a story for another time.) Almost three years ago, I finally got my wish when I married Jeff... thus gaining four sisters. I love spending time with them. They've already shown me how great "sister time" is. I'm not very girly, but our sister time lets me lose myself in a way that you only can with sisters. There is a special, unique bond that sisters have, and I'm so glad to finally be able to experience a piece of it. I sure lucked out in the in-law department. My parents, sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews -in-law are good to their cores.

So I wanted to share these memories of my brothers as to not slight them when I express how grateful I am of my sister-in-laws, and how much I love them.
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