One of the biggest problems with this whole, "being married and living in Wisconsin" thing--right up there with the still-frequent, "I want my mommy!" moments--is that I miss my little brothers like crazy.
I know, I'm weird.
The last 15 years, or so--since we started homeschooling, really--we've been bizarrely, freakishly close. Of course, various combinations of the four of us went through times when we fought like young animals, but we were each others' primary (or only) playmates and that didn't really change as we grew up.
I won't say much more, because I'm pregnant and cry very easily, but I've been thinking about them a lot lately.
Our good friends, the Becks, came up for a visit yesterday. We met them when Patrick and Mary Clare were in the same dreadful kindergarten class, and MC was the only child who was nice enough to deserve to be friends with my little brother. Even at that time, in the depths of my too-cool-for-anything, snotty, 3rd-grader-ness, I latched on to MC as the little sister my parents refused to give me. The Becks decided to homeschool not too long after we did, and for the next few years the five of us had tea parties and played dress-up and watched musicals together. Even though contact was always more sporadic after we moved, we've stayed close, and Mary was one of my bridesmaids.
All that to say that, while we were sitting at lunch yesterday, Jim, Jane, and Mary were all anxious to hear how my brothers are doing and what they are up to. And they were suitably distraught over the passage of time and the transformation of those silly little boys into full-grown adult and might-as-well-be-adult men. There was not much woe over Patrick being nearly finished (right?) with college, perhaps because he and MC are the same age and thus allowed to grow up in tandem, or perhaps because Patrick has always seemed so much older than he really is. He's my buddy and is allowed to lag just a little bit behind me in the growing-up process. Jane was, however, nearly reduced to tears at the thought of little Jonathan--"sweet Jon-Jon with with his cheeks and 'bad guys'"--being old enough to start college. I have to agree with her, there. My little brother is eternally about nine years old, in my mind, even when I have to deal with his gargantuan grown-up self in person. Talking about Andrew may have gotten the best reaction, though. When the kid was 5, Jim asked him if he returned to his planet at night, and we've joked about that ever since. I told them about him being away at Christ Academy for a couple weeks and all that entails, about how he's going to start taking college courses, about how he is the most cheerful helper to my mother and essentially runs the kitchen and laundry at home.... "Andrew?" Jim asks. "The little one, right? The one who was basically an alien?" Yes, that Andrew. He's still from another planet, but at least now he knows he can't really fly.
Aaaaand, cue tears. I blame the baby.