I've always thought it unfair I was born without an older brother. Always.
I have a small list of impossible desires:
1) laser eye surgery,
2) lung transplant,
and 3) older brother.
The past few weekends, my cousin Bryce has driven over from Reno, NV, to come stay with us for a night or two. It's funny, growing up we rarely saw him, maybe once or twice (if we were lucky) a year. And now, it's almost regular. He was here three weekends ago. He was here last weekend. And he's here now, quietly snoring on the couch in our frontroom. The son of my father's brother, he's a year younger than I am, with a definite Farrell nose and deep Merck eyes. He's tall, like my uncle Mike (his dad), with curly hair like my dad and uncle Tim. With a funny smile, quirky sense of humor, and ever-gentle and loving spirit, it's very difficult not to love him to pieces. We've gone through very similar experiences, Bryce and I, and it's been so wonderful to have him around to talk to and share things with. He's a wise young man, in his own quiet, simple way.
He came in to say goodnight as I readied for bed, his tall frame silhouehetted in the doorframe. I looked up at him, and he told me he loved me with his eyes. I didn't have to say anything, I just went over and sank in his arms as he hugged me.
I may not have a true older brother, but my cousin might as well be one. He's younger than I am, yes. And true, he lives in Reno. But he's here for me when I need him. He listens when I need to talk. He takes care of my younger siblings for me, allowing me a rare and welcome reprieve from a quiet, underlying worry. Like most, he has his own issues he's working through right now...and we take turns listening and counseling each other. We know each other, we know our family, we know Farrell politics, we know how "the game" works, we know....we know. And that reality is a comfort to the spirit, in a strangely beautiful way.
Dear, dear Bryce. I'm going to miss him when he returns to Reno tomorrow morning. And I'll miss him until he comes back again.
My de-facto older brother.