My Big Little Brother

GradTo be fair, all three of my little brothers are bigger than I am, but Chuck is the biggest. He’s also the one most like me so we have a very strong bond. Which is strange because I left home when he was nine years old and we had very little contact for about a decade after that.

Now, even though we don’t see or speak to each other as much as either of us would like, I feel like we have an incredible connection. There’s nothing he could do that would make me love him less and I’m certain he feels the same way about me. There’s no upset when we have to break plans and I’m never mad when he doesn’t reply to my calls, texts, emails, or posts on G+. I know he’s seen them and he’s just sort of busy and forgetful but has the best of intentions. I know this because I do the same things to other people. It’s not malicious, it’s usually just because I’m in a bad emotional place or overwhelmed or just can’t bring myself to communicate with anyone at all in that moment. It’s not something to take personally, it’s how we’re wired.

Even after living in the same city for the past dozen years, I’m still amazed sometimes at how similar we are considering we’re half-siblings who spent 17 years apart. We share so many of the same interests and the same emotional responses, sometimes I feel like I’m hanging out with another me. The funny, caring, sarcastic me, which, of course, is awesome!

There’s another reason I feel so close and connected to Chuck, and that’s my son, Micah. Without Chuck, there would be no Micah and there’s no way I can ever repay him or thank him enough for that gift. People often comment on how much alike Micah and I are and it’s true. We are JUST a like. I see so much of my very young self in that kid. I imagine he’s what Chuck and I would have been like if we’d had a safe, loving, and supportive home when we were kids. Not to say that our kids have it easy, Chuck and I both have very quick and hot tempers but we also listen and apologize when we’re wrong. And we make sure that our kids know how much we love them and how important they are in our lives.

Another big similarity is that we tend to keep our soft, squishy, emotional bits safely inside. I think we’ve both gotten better about showing our funny, caring, and giving sides more easily but we tend to save the softest, squishiest parts for those who are close to us. I believe Chuck is even better at showing his true self to others than I am but I’m also much more easily overwhelmed by people than he is. His wife, Molly, has really helped with that because she’s super-social and always has an event or party or something so he’s been able to move past a lot of the awkward and overwhelming stuff that I still feel. My wife is even less social than I am and has been known to hide in dark rooms during large family gatherings. I move more toward simply avoiding gatherings the older I get. I’ve discovered a love of quiet and large chunks of alone time. Now I have to find a better balance. I’ll get there.

I’m done now. I was feeling a lot of love for my big little brother and wanted to share it. So there.

Comment if you want. You know, no pressure.

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