This Business of Being Siblings

As I was walking out from a coffee shop with my brother, he commented on my children, He copies everything she is doing. A glance behind and I could see my daughter was twirling around, hiding behind a sign, and jumping through the bike racks. All with her younger brother right behind, a step-for-step shadow of each movement. My brother responded thoughtfully, It’s interesting to think, what would he be like without a big sister?

It is an interesting thought but the beauty of it is that there is no other way. He was a second born child and he will always have an older sibling to mimic, an older sibling to get mad at, an older sibling to be jealous of.

My brother, Peter, joined me at the Episcopal church I attend while he was visiting. He sat with us in the church and as we moved about heads turned and eyes discreetly yet noticeably followed him wherever he went. My brother is Catholic Dominican friar and dresses in white robes with a rosary dangling from his belt and a hood draped across his back. It is very medieval looking. He introduced himself to all who were bold enough to question his ensemble; those who were not will still remember him. He has this tendency. A tendency to be remembered. I have no doubt that people who never noticed me in church before will now remember who I am.

As a young child, many didn’t know it but my second name was “Pete’s sister.” When meeting my middle school history teacher, “You must be Peter’s sister,” she exclaimed, seeing our remarkable similarities within an instance. Meeting an upper-classman in high school, “You’re Pete’s sister, right?” Whether it was academic achievements, athletic accomplishments, or a visit to the headmaster, Peter somehow managed to burn an imprint of himself within others.

I am a second born child. My life knows nothing other than an older brother. Who would I be without him? Who knows. Who would my son be without his sister? Who knows. One thing I do know is that having a sibling makes jumping through bike racks more fun.

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