"To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time." - Clara Ortega
"We know one another's faults, virtues, catastrophes, mortifications, triumphs, rivalries, desires, and how long we can each hang by our hands to a bar. We have been banded together under pack codes and tribal laws." - Rose Macaulay
These quotes, from an International Business Times article, on National Sibling Day 2014, capture the unique power of the sibling relationship.
I was thinking about this at the start of the year as I wrote down some things I am grateful for in my gratitude journal and found myself giving thanks for my brother.
Rob, 3 years younger than me, has a unique and precious place in my life and heart --our lives having run parallel for almost 62 years and not having other siblings.
There is a set of photos taken on a summer's day, about 60 years ago by Mum that always makes me smile, and also feel sorry for having been so possessive of my toy pram. And he was having so much fun until I seized back my doll!
We had our share of sibling rivalry growing up, but now it is rare for more than two weeks to go by without one of us calling the other even though we have lived on different continents for 45 years. I tend not to call anyone else just to chat because I always have this thought in my head that I will catch them busy doing something--be interrupting them--nothing I have to say seems worth doing that. But with Rob I am confident that anything he is doing will instantly be second in importance to my call; if I catch him in the middle of a show, he will turn the sound off. We both know what it was like to feel as though we were less important than the news on TV, and we will never do that to each other.
We can talk for an hour about the most menial details of our lives, and they are important enough to keep us interested.
In Rob I have someone to whom I could confide anything, and know that he will tell me the truth in return, yet not judge.
He is intuitive, sensitive and instinctively knows my heart, for good or bad. Sometimes he knows what I am thinking before I express it in words.
We are different in personality and outlook on life and yet we share a history no one else does; our childhood; and family dynamics.
I sometimes measure the quality of whatever I am writing by how Rob might read it. He doesn't enjoy writing, but he is gifted in drawing and has the ability to describe a scene in a movie so well verbally, that when you actually see it, you recognize every detail and experience deja vu. He knows good writing and he isn't impressed with facades or jargon. He can sniff out insincerity pretty quickly.
So the last time we spoke and he said to me, "I sometimes feel that I just haven't done enough for other people," I reminded him of all that he means to me; how important his place in my life.
And to end with a smile, click here for "13 Things Only Siblings Understand."