Monday, September 17, 2007

Good, Big Doings

On a rain and sun speckled day this weekend, in the old granite quarried hills of central Vermont, my brother married his best friend. We were under a heated tent canopy, and young white birches, grapevine, and mums made that space feel like the woods in early fall. Bright paper lanterns hung from the ceiling. Into their vows, my brother wove home, family, friendship, deep love and respect. It was a brief, but very moving ceremony.

Our family has increased exponentially. Not only is my brother a parent of a 5 and 8 year old now, but he has three brothers-in-law. And another set of parents. All of whom I enjoyed immensely this weekend. With our extended family and friends, we laughed and celebrated as long as we could stand it, and on Sunday, dragged ourselves home completely exhausted. A good day - right up there on my list of best days ever.

I sat on our porch at home late that afternoon, and tried to puzzle out the wedding jitters i seemed to have had all weekend. I adore my sister-in-law. She's fantastic. My brother is happy. They glow. So why was I so emotional and jumpy?

The Better Half came and sat with me in the sun, let me read some E.B. White essays to him. A very comforting sort, White. He is the author of "Stuart Little" and my all time favorite "Charlotte's Web". His essays are timeless and so down to earth. A bit of White and my brain began to make some sense of things again.

Of the three siblings in my family, I'm the oldest by four years. By the time my brother came along, I was ready for someone to boss around. And boy, did I. He was so good natured about it... which changed eventually, of course. He was such a sunny, affectionate little person. A dreamer and a doer. Always busy at one or the other, sometimes both at the same time. He's been through a lot. Relationships, Iraq, life in general. I admit to hovering sometimes, to offering my opinion when I think I'm entitled to do so. I fret over his emotional health, his self esteem, his happiness. But lately, I haven't been fretting. Not really at all. And I'm a natural fretter. New worries go into my brain as if it were a rock tumbler. A little tossing about with some grains of sand, and I've worn away all the sharp edges. I experience their new texture like some kind of zen meditation. It's how I adjust, prioritize, make sense of things. I haven't been pulling my brother's worry stones out at all lately. He's happy, he has people (and one sweet dog with a penchant for running away) to go home to every night, and to wake up to each morning. He feels loved and cared for.

As a pseudo-parent, this fretless view of my brother was a big adjustment for me. Oh sure, there's interesting stuff on the road ahead, but for a change, he is equipped with excellent traveling companions. You dream of all sorts of wonderful things for the people you love - and sometimes it feels like being a grown up means accepting that they may never actually happen, no matter how hard you wish. But I got this one, this wish and it's pretty amazing. No wonder I was all emotional. With this Very Good Thing that has happened between my brother and my sister-in-law, and the children, life has given me a big, fat thumbs up.

I am a firm believer in family=pie. So, of course quiche was present at the post-wedding brunch for family. Family agreed, and both quiches disappeared. I attribute that not so much to my baking skills, but more to the fact that a buttery crust and bacon (yay fat content!) are an easy sell.


Beth said...

Awww, sheesh, you made me cry! A very moving tribute from an older sister. I understand how you feel as I felt very similar when my younger brother married last year. I loved what you said about the worry stones. Beautiful!

Kate said...

thanks beth. it's a bit odd, being the oldest and remembering their very first moments (god, i thought he was weird looking!), and then fast forwarding to something like a wedding. it's like time travel, especially since i still feel like a "kid" when i'm with my siblings. okay, i still feel like a kid in general... even after a wild day of middle management.