In the last 9 months, I often find myself lost in wonder at the unconditional love Liam showers on his little brother. The adoration in Atticus’s eyes demonstrates a mutual understanding that what the two of them share is an unwavering brotherly bond. I imagine how their relationship will evolve with time as they both grow older and develop their own distinct interests.
Brotherly love is something I know all to well myself. As the older sister, I know my initial response was far from acceptance when Hans was born. In fact, I think on more than one occasion I may have tried to hurt Hans out of jealousy. One particular story, fondly told by my mother, involves me putting every single pillow in the house in his crib while he was napping and then climbing up into the crib to sit atop the pillows. It certainly wasn’t my finest moment but in my defense I was only a toddler. Thankfully it wasn’t long before I realized how lucky I was to have a new playmate and friend to enjoy life with.
My childhood memories with Hans are rich and storied. I remember countless adventures at the beach, riding bikes, chasing each other on the playground, and hiding out in our fortress of pine trees. Living in a small, quiet community left us with lots of opportunities to explore the world around us, and we often took full advantage to play together to our hearts content. My parents nurtured our relationship by allowing us to have sleep overs in each others rooms on the weekend. We’d build a tent of bedsheets and laugh for hours telling jokes way past our bedtime.
As we got older our interests changed. I found love and success in long distance running, and Hans pursued interests in music. Despite our differences, it was rare the two of us were at odds. We both mutually respected the successes of the other and celebrated one another’s accomplishments with pride and admiration. When Hans graduated from high school to attend The University of Texas at Austin, coincidentally I was transferring there too. Almost every weekend he rode his bike from his dorm to do laundry at my apartment and hang out. The following year, he moved into the vacant garage apartment below me. With the exception of him instating a policy that I not wear heels while walking upstairs (it was incredibly loud because of the hardwood floors), we saw eye-to-eye on just about everything else. We’d take turns making dinner for one another and fell into a comfortable routine as neighbors. The greatest memory of our time together in Austin was watching him befriend and court, Cat. The amazing woman who after nearly 13 years of dating became his wife and my sister-in-law.
Since graduating from UT, Hans and I haven’t lived in the same city. Despite the distance, we check in often with a phone call or text to keep each other in the loop. Coming back full circle, my heart is full of joy for the countless opportunities Liam and Atticus have ahead of them to explore and grow in brotherly love. Siblings truly are a remarkable gift. I don’t know where I would be today without the love and support of my brother. We will share a piece of each other’s hearts for all of time!
“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” — Desmond Tutu, South African Social Activist