Grown up brother

There’s a funny thing about watching someone you love grow up without you. It’s perfect and wonderful - especially if the growing up is going well and the person is happy - but it’s also lonely and sad at times. Lonely because of course it would be ridiculous to admit that you miss certain things, so you keep it bottled up. Sad, because of the missing.
My brother and I grew up sharing a room. Even when we didn’t, we did. Our parents built a divide but it was gappy and thin so I could tell when he put his light on and he could hear me coming in teenage-drunk from the pub.
When I went to university I got the thing I wanted most of all in all the world: my own room. I put my feet up on my desk, smoked a cigarette and thought: this is living. But that night I couldn’t sleep. I missed the sound of my brother yelling and laughing in his sleep. Crazy.
Anyway, who would I admit that to? What sort of weirdo is homesick for her sleep-talking 14 year old brother?
Fast forward 17 years (OH MY GOD I AM SO OLD) and I’m lying here in bed thinking about the fact my brother is having his first birthday in the US this year, with his lovely wife Maddie. I’m thinking how I’m going to miss him, I’m thinking about all the birthdays we spent together, bursting into his teeny room with presents first thing in the morning, mum making the cake the night before. And then I sort of realise that he did a lot of growing up between the day I moved out (and he took my bedroom…) and today. And I’m so proud and so happy that every decision he made somehow led him to Maddie and their life together now. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was also a bit sad.

Grab it and hold on

Just over a year ago I waved goodbye to my little brother as he slung a pack on his back and disappeared with his friend Martin (Stretch) to South East Asia.

 I said at the time that I thought the trip would help him grow, would open his eyes to the world. And, frankly, it did. My little brother fell in love.

 He fell in love immediately. It was New Years Eve, he was hanging off the back of a taxi - the details are fuzzy - but this is how she met him. My crazy, daredevil (and frankly, idiotic) brother. According to her he repeated his name over and over again so she could find him on Facebook. I mean, it was almost dawn; he’s hanging off a cab. I’m guessing he didn’t have a pen on him.

 My brother was blessed and cursed with the fact he grew up in an almost exclusively female household. My stepfather often travelled for work and wasn’t really around until Danny was in his early teens. Our parents divorced when he was six. This was a blessing because, obvs, me and my mum are awesome. But a curse as we constantly meddled. Poor Danny, then, as soon as he had a passing interest in a girl would hear opinions and questions and - I’m ashamed to say it - constant teasing on his crush. This, by the way, when he was only about eight years old. So when he did grow up and start dating - we were often, unsurprisingly, the last to know.

 Not so this time. My brother having met this girl almost immediately contacted me to tell me about her. He encouraged – encouraged (!) - me to look at a picture he uploaded onto Facebook of the two of them. And then, if that wasn’t enough, he sent me a picture. I have to say this excited me a lot. A great deal. 

 Now I am a sucker for romance. I believe in love. Of course I do. I just got married to my soulmate and smile all the way home every night knowing I am going back to his sweet embrace after a crappy day at work. I know that when you meet that person that makes everywhere you go feel like home, you hang on for dear life and you don’t let go. Much like riding on the back of an open cab at dawn. And, lookie, looks like my brother knows it too.

 So while I am sad that he’s going to be on another continent to me with this sweet girl, I am happier that he found his soulmate and is hanging on. And I am so excited for the adventure that their life together will be.