National Sibling Day and Memories

All over social media yesterday were photos of friends with their siblings.  Apparently it was National Sibling Day.  (When did this become a thing?)

It got me thinking...when people ask me if I'm an only child, I answer yes.  Because I am.  Or rather I am NOW.  I wasn't always.  But when the topic comes up, I feel uncomfortable saying that.

So, I am my parent’s only daughter.  Since June of 2012 I have been their only child.

For nearly 40 years, I was an older sister.  I still am, but I do not have a younger brother.  I HAD a younger brother.  A brother who was funny and smart; and also at times irresponsible.  (I can say that; he was MY brother. Don't you dare think of saying that.)

My mother says he always said he wouldn't live long; or that he wouldn't live past 40.  I don't recall him ever saying that, but it was true.  And I wonder why he thought that.  I wonder how he knew.  Did he know?)  Was there something inside of him that whispered to him?   I've just finished a biography of Bob Fosse and he always said that he die when he was 60.  And he was right.  I wonder if anyone I know (or anyone who reads this) has that same feeling.  As for me, I have no idea about my mortality.  Maybe if I did I'd be braver?  Maybe I'd take more risks?  Maybe I'd go out of my comfort zone and try new things?

What bothers me most is how my memories have faded over time.  That memories fade is not alarming; it happens to all of us.  It's that I feel that I don't have enough of them and what ones I DO have are not as sharp as they might have once been.  While my brother and I were close when we were younger; we drifted as we got older.  I went off to college; then he did.  I got married.  He got married.  I had a child and that causes some tension (which I will not get into here).  So most of my memories are of our youth and I don't have that much to hold onto during the last few years.

This might be why I write so much and take so many photos.  When I write about a family adventure/trip or something that is memorable, it reinforces my memories.  When I look at photos, I am immediately drawn back to the point in history.  Which is why I regret not writing or keeping a detailed log and taking more photos on my honeymoon and other early marriage vacations.  (To be fair, back then taking photos required more of a financial investment since you had to pay to get prints AND you didn't know until you saw them later how they came out.)  I am grateful to (almost) always have my cell phone at my fingertips so that I can snap away without a thought.  I make an effort take jot down a few notes or keep a travel journal.  I say this NOT to take focus off of making the memory (life should NOT be viewed through a camera lens), but to take a moment to preserve it.

I wish there were more photos of my brother and me.  I wish there were more photos of my brother period.  I wish I had better preserved the memories that I have.  (I'm actually trying to by taking notes on what I DO recall.  Like our race to the Garden State Art Center to see Elvis Costello in concert even though we had no tickets.  Or picking him up at the airport after a trip with his girlfriend to Disney World and seeing him wearing vest that was COVERED in Disney pins. (A Disney Pin Vest and yes, there were/are a thing.  If you're a Disney fan, you KNOW what I'm talking about.)  Of course I also remember (and maybe I should forget), following him around as he toddled through our living room (he was definitely under 2 at the time) with little poop pellets falling out of his diaper.  (Perhaps a memory best forgotten?  But it never will be.  I had sandwich bags on my hands to do the clean-up.  How can you forget that?)

Life is meant to be lived and memories are meant to be made.  Live life, but take some time to preserve those memories.  They are the most precious things you have.


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