Wednesday, July 8, 2015

TAL Challenge: Siblings

I actually have more Acts than three here because in addition to the five siblings I mention, I also have two step siblings, whom I adore, and four or five fabulous siblings in-law.  And, I hope there are a million more vignettes I can write in the future, memories upon memories of these incredible people.

Act One:

I grew up with Kevin.  Once he punched me in the face when I was driving him to tutoring.  It wasn't really his fault.  I said something really mean in the seconds preceding the punch.

If we were actually on This American Life right now, Ira Glass would ask me what I said.

I don't want to tell you because it was pretty mean.

Tell us, Ira would say.  So, okay, I would say, but first I want to add that to be fair, Kevin also said something mean to me.  Like, it was a two-sided fight.

Fine, Ira would agree.  So, what did you say?

And of course I would start with what Kevin said: He said I was fat.  And then I would pause for effect and really quickly tell the rest: And then I said he was stupid.  I also said that fat was better than stupid because I could always lose weight, but that he would always be stupid.

And then he punched me.  I think I deserved it, reading this back.  Last night, though, we went to a Twins' game.  The Twins beat the Orioles handily. So, I think we're all good.

Act Two:

When I was mostly or partially grown up, I met another set of siblings.  On the first day I met my sister, she and I were wearing the same outfit.  By accident.  It felt like total fate, and here we are 20 years later, still sisters.

Mary and I were both readers at our brother Devin's wedding.  I got to read 1st Corinthians.  Love is patient; love is kind.  Classic. Mary had to read the lyrics to "The Power of Love" by Huey Louis.  "Don't take money," she said slowly and deliberately. "Don't take fame."  Deep breath.  "Don't need no credit card to ride this train."

Oh my god, it's one of my favorite memories of all time, watching her do this and also watching Devin and Steph try not to laugh their heads off at her while they were up there getting married.

Act Three:

Still another set of siblings has recently come on the scene.  It's an odd thing to meet your siblings when you're all grown up.  You sit there staring into their faces, trying not to be too weird and intense, and yet finding odd little moments of familiarity.  You're immediate family, and yet you don't know each other.

In the most recent meeting - the final sibling frontier - I had to stop the conversation with Noah.  "Oh my god," I said, "you look just exactly like him."  Him, in this case, being the father we share.

"So do you!" he said.  "It's uncanny!"

The elation of saying hello - of watching my sister walk into a restaurant where I'm waiting, heart pounding - makes way for profound sadness to seep in.

Like, how could I have missed so much of this? You start to think that you've been missing them even though you never knew them in the first place.


mm said...

I love the reading of Huey Lewis at the wedding... too good to be true.

jdoc said...

A lovely post. It made me laugh and cry. Both.

lee said...

Finally getting around to this amazing post. Wow.