Growing up in a large family is a very interesting experience. There is a lot of chaos, love, fighting, taking care of siblings etc., that I feel can give those who have lots of brothers and sister a heads up in life.
One of these is having brothers that you can compare yourself with. Robert is 14 months older than me. I have always had a deep respect for him, even when a boy and a teenager, even when we fought. He grew at a normal rate, so I guess we did not fight as equals, I can’t remember ever winning a fight with him. Many of the squabbles were fun, so I guess they don’t count.
David was 19 months younger than me, though he grew up at the normal speed, so I was between a big brother, taller and stronger than me, and a younger brother, well, the same as me. I does not seem fair does it? David and I would fight a lot, and I guess for a time we did not get along too well, since there was a win lose aspect to our getting it on. Yet I also respected him very much.
Both Robert and David had close friends in high school, something that I would observe and wonder about often. I did not miss having friends, but thought it funny that while I had classmates I hung out with, it was not the same, no one stuck to me. I can’t say I was a loner, but I had some understanding that I lacked something in the relational department. The fact that I did not miss this is what caused me some concern. I guess I did not feel connected to anything really, which did not bother me either.
Robert being older was the one I observed the most. Tom and Harry were his friends and from what I observed I could tell that it was something deep and enduring and simply admired this fact, even if I did not know how to do it, or be it, might be the better word. I think when younger and to some degree still do to this day, tend to disassociate, to simply observe, but not get into the situation itself, I guess it was some form of protection based on something that happened when very young. Something that I don’t regret, since it has made me whom I am today, still neurotic, still overly observe, yet also have the ability to feel deeply in ways that was impossible when younger. My inner wounds are also my goad to growth and trust in God and then in others.
Tom and Robert still keep in touch, but Harry died. It affected me deeply to hear about his death at a young age, and could for some reason feel a loss in that. For it always made me happy to think that Robert had such good friends, and to lose one must be truly awful. I always liked Tom, though never knew him, Harry, never talked to him, but liked him anyway.
As I grow older, I am now finding that I too can have friends, many of them. I don’t have to do anything, for I have found that friendship is a gift for sure, and how this experience of this grace and gift, deepens life and gives a depth of color that was missing before. My head and my heart are still far apart, but I am patient, and slowly I plod through each day thankful for the fact that after many years I am arriving at a place that both David and Robert have had all along.