Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mutual Admiration Society



"No matter what we are, we are a family ..."  Tom Eyen

DAY 12:  While growing up, my younger brother, Chris, and I weren't exactly the closest of siblings.  That's not a picture of us above, though there are plenty of pictures of us as kids smiling side by side.  Don't get me wrong, we got along fine and there wasn't any antagonism between us (at least I don't remember any).  I'm not sure what it was ... I suppose we just didn't "get" each other.  Unfortunately for Chris, I think he had to live in my shadow a little bit, particularly in school.  Chris was always closer to my Dad, while I was always closer to my mother.  Back then, we probably shared the misconception that we didn't have much in common, though we were both creative and artistic in our own way - Chris in the visual arts, me in the performing arts.  

So, it's been a remarkable and very pleasant realization at least for me (and I'm pretty sure it has for Chris, too) just how alike we are as we've grown older.  Many years ago, we had a long, soul-searching conversation on the phone, mostly about our Dad's death and some unresolved issues we both had relating to each other and how we each dealt with that.  I'd like to think that that was the beginning of a new phase in the relationship that has developed between us.  We are still pretty different in many ways ... Chris prefers life out in the middle of nowhere, the peace and quiet of the country, raising chickens and sitting out on the back porch watching the sunset with his wonderful wife, Kim, and his puppy (we both love our dogs!).  I prefer civilization, a little bit of hustle and bustle, and a mall right around the corner.  Chris is great with hands, can build and fix things, and is very mechanical.  I'm clueless with any kind of tool whatsoever.

But I'm amazed to say after all these years ... that's where the differences pretty much end.  We both turned out to be educators at the high school level.  Chris teaches Electronics, and I taught Physics for most of my years in the classroom.  We're both serious techies and we LOVE our "gadgets," particularly the computer variety.  Beyond that we are discovering just how much we THINK alike and share the same opinions, particularly when it comes to government, social, and military issues (Chris also served in the Air Force).  We both delight (a little too much, perhaps) in "tormenting" our ultra-Liberal bleeding-heart Mom with our barely left of center politics, but it's great trading opinions with Chris by e-mail, over the phone, or through his blog (larrylinux.blogspot.com).  And I think it still astonishes us every now and then just how much we agree on.  I know Chris would like to hear me admit that it's probably because we both have an awful lot of our father in each of us.  Anyway ... he's one helluva guy and I proud to call him my brother. 

I'm grateful to you, bro, for your friendship and love.  It's taken us a while to get there, but even from many many miles away, I am always thankful for your support and the mutual respect and admiration that we share.

5 comments:

  1. Note to self- I owe my sisters the same. Your gratitude inspires others to be grateful. Thank you for a peek into a very personal expression. It was beautiful.

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  2. From what I understand, you're very fortunate that you and brother did come to appreciate each other once you became adults. I envy that; as an only child, I've always felt the lack of a sibling left somewhat of a hole in my life. Hugs to you!

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  3. My sister and I share a unique relationship, as well. We were very close as children, but grew apart during high school. I think it's natural for siblings to go through a period of time when they search for their own identity.

    Now, my sister and I enjoy sharing the craziness of our lives with each other, and laughing about the past. (Ask Juan about my mother, and you'll find that there's lots to laugh about).

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  4. Bro,

    The feeling is very "mutual" and I hope through your expressing it, that other siblings like us can find joy in both there similarities and differences. I think the icing on the cake was when I switched to teaching public school. It was then that I truly became a "passionate" teacher and began to understand your love of our profession.

    Here is to many more years of aggrivating Mom!

    PS - I am probably a little right-of-center :-)

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  5. :-) If I had to be honest, I suspect I'm a little more "right" than I'd care to admit, though I think we're both so close to center that it doesn't much matter which way we "lean" from center.

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