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Big Brother

When I was small, my siblings were big.

I came ten years later than everyone else, and in many ways they were extra parents more than brothers and sisters. My oldest brother joined the Navy very quickly after I was born, and my first memory that includes him is of me missing the bus for school and my mother calling him to come take me to kindergarten. I was horrified. I was frightened. He'd been gone for years. I had no idea who he was.

He would be in and out of my life for the next several years, but never a fixed part. There were 18 years between us. He was an adult. I was not. He loaned me books. I rolled his spare change. I don't think we actually talked. What would there be to talk about.

Today, my brother lives about 10 minutes away from my own home. It's the only time in my adult life that I've lived in the same city as anyone in my family. Our children, by some odd chance of fate, have similar ages. They regularly get together and play.

This is mind-boggling to me. Not only that my children have cousins to be their best friends - after all those years of living so far away - but also that these new relationships are being built between my brother's family and mine. Who would have thought it would turn out this way.

I talk to my brother all the time now. It's funny, I can tell him all my crazy theories without fear. There aren't many people I can tell those kinds of things. He doesn't always agree with me. And he has no qualms about saying so. But he doesn't find a need to sway me to his side either. We're able to discuss. We're able to wander in ideas.

And we are similar in a way I cannot explain. We didn't grow up similarly at all. The life my older siblings lived was a life entirely different than mine. Our blood isn't even as thick as it might be. Our fathers aren't the same. But I can tell we were meant to be siblings all the same, and I am glad he is here at this point in my life. And that for some reasons, he's willing to hear the things I have to say.

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