Friday, June 22, 2012

on brothers and milestones

my little brother leaves for college this weekend. between beach trips and summer school and a busy schedule and the crazy/hectic/beautiful life of a teenager, i haven't seen him much these hot months. but i still call him every night and i'm still planning the long trip east this weekend to move him in. the same way i did for my sister, and they did for me upward of ten years ago.

and it's wonderful. it's such a gorgeous thing to grow and go and move and experience new things. but it's got me thinking about life and children. about the cycle of it all.

because no one ever tells you how to love a child. they tell you how to make your own hair bows with ribbon and a hot glue gun, how to sneak vegetables into a casserole, make all the voices on sesame street, bury pets discreetly, and make a halloween costume from a bed sheet. you learn how to pack a baby dress without crying and to drive away from the preschool with only one eye left lingering, sobbing and hot, still searching for her face pressed against the window. you become a doctor, blowing kisses on a skinned knee when the training wheels are taken off too soon. you are counselor and culprit, bank and hotel.

until one balmy summer, you find yourself in the middle of a little college town wondering how in the world it came to all of this. how the one person you know better than anyone is getting smaller and smaller in the rearview and you think as the pit forms in your gut if you really loved her the way you could have. if you didn’t have to learn all those things and take on all those roles. if all you had to do for eighteen years was lie in bed and cocoon her against your chest, rocking her back and forth as she grew in the nook of your elbows, her knees against her belly at first, then jutting out and resting against your own, until eventually you are two well-rested persons who have not really lived, but who have loved to their core.

it's times like these i think on such things. and lo, when that day comes that we are faced with this time, i hope i handle it with half the grace and optimism my parents have. because while no one teaches you these things, you do indeed learn. that's the mercy. and the learning and loving make a padding for the leaving.

love you, clint.


kate said...

this was so beautiful and sweet. i wish you brother the very best in college and this new adventure in life <3

Tiffany said...

So adorable. I just love it. Good luck to your brother!


Blondie's Journal said...

I feel you just wrote about my life as it has been for the last 25 years. Saying goodbye, whether it is at the preschool or the campus, it's hard. Very hard. And all the mothering in the world can't teach you how to handle these moments.

I wish your brother all the success he deserves.


Thisisme. said...

Hi Courtney! I'm back and reading this latest post of yours, makes me realize how much I've missed your wonderful writing. I just know that you are going to be the bestest mum in the world, as you are so family orientated and close to your siblings. Lovely photo of you and your brother. I know that you have SO much love to give that little baby whenever he or she arrives!

Janette said...

I'm the youngest in my fam, so I can't relate to having a younger sibling..But watching my nephews and nieces grow up is a terrifying experience.. You wish so much the best for their lives! And I don't ever want to say goodbye! I love that you are savoring and considering your moments...

Best wishes to your lil' bro on this new adventure.. You guys look A LOT alike!

Janette, the Jongleur

Ana Magdalena said...

Reading this was like watching a family movie, where the children grow and eventually move out. Your children are going to be such lucky apples, I am sure you will handle with more than half of the grace and optimism your parents did.

wildchild said...

oh goodness. there are tears again. my little sister is going to be a high school senior in the fall and it's just like this. it's so weird to see them develop into people of their own! being a momma is going to be so hard.

Cara-Mia said...

I'm the oldest child, and I always say I feel older on their birthdays than I do on my own. How are they getting so big? I can only imagine feeling this times one hundred if and when I have children of my own.

Best of luck to your brother. That's so nice you're going to help move him in.

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