Five Photos, Five Stories, Day 4: Siblings

Mom's 80th birthday

It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea. ~Dylan Thomas

Siblings.  You can't live with them, you can't live without them.

While searching for a quote for this week's Nurturing Thursday I wanted to find one that would also fit the Five Photos, Five Stories challenge I have been participating in.  Dylan Thomas' quote stopped me in my tracks.

It was perfect.

In one sentence, he flawlessly described my brother and me.

Growing up we were as different as oil and water.  He was outgoing, funny, loud and always into mischief.  I was introverted, sensitive, and...some might say...moody.  He owned a room as soon as he entered, I preferred to slip in unnoticed.  I loved to read; he loved stock cars.

Oil and water.  Chalk and cheese.

Needless to say we fought, frequently.  He'd tease, I'd lose my temper.  He'd taunt, I'd smack him.

We were not close, not at all.

Except...

Except when someone at the bus stop would pick on me, he'd be the first to come to my defense.  And if anyone tried to bully him, I'd do the same.

Two memories come to mind:  We are in the middle of a shoving match and in the midst of it our mom's favorite Hummel figurine is knocked off of a table, falling to the ground.  The head has snapped off, but it is a clean break.  My brother gets the glue and we glue it back on.  Fight over, we agree not to tell Mom. Luckily for us she never notices.  {Sorry, Mom!}

Second memory:  It is 1974 and race riots have broken out at our high school.  Instead of riding the bus I accept a ride home from a friend.  As our mom tells me later, my brother becomes alarmed when he sees I am not on the bus and immediately calls her when he gets home, worried that something has happened to me.  When I finally walk through the door he cannot hide his relief.

I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked him down and then we had tea.

My brother, mom and I have begun a tradition of going out to lunch together to celebrate our birthdays.  A few weeks ago it was time to celebrate Joe.  I had chosen a card that I felt described him perfectly; thoughtful and generous were two of the words used.  It also included the sentiment of being proud to call him my brother.  When Joe opened the card he laughed.  "Grace, you're joking, right?" he said.  "No," I responded, "I'm serious."  Because that is the man my brother has become:  a friend you can count on, a hard worker, a loving husband and father.  Our dad, who died 20 years ago, would be so proud of him.  And so am I.

I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked him down and then we had tea.