Since we first started dating, I was jealous of Brandon's family life. It was clear from the start that his family is very close knit, and all very important to one another. He is the youngest of three boys and his brothers are incredibly important to him. I grew up with four siblings, one "real" brother and three half siblings. But for the majority of our lives, we lived apart, spoke infrequently, and were not very present in one another's lives. We all share a father, but as I've mentioned, that relationship wasn't the best, leaving us all scattered.
We grew up in three separate, very happy households, even without having our biological father present, but we'd never had that sibling bond that so many others rave about. So I was jealous when I met Brandon. His brothers are a constant presence in his life, they know details about one another that only siblings know. They support each other in the way that siblings do.
As we've gotten older, consciously or not, the five of us have been drawn closer together. Two of my brothers now live in the same city and were once roommates. My sister and I bonded over motherhood. And our youngest brother is the type of person who values family and takes an interest in all that we do. We talk frequently (having our own ongoing Facebook Messenger chat), we laugh about memories and we support each other - the way siblings do.
In February of this year, our oldest brother turned 40 and invited my brothers for a weekend trip to Vegas to celebrate (something that my sister and I quickly invited ourselves along to). This type of vacation was completely unprecedented for us. We had never been on vacation together, not even as kids. And this trip wouldn't involve a buffer (no parents or spouses to control the potential chaos). Amidst the craziness that comes with four full-time jobs, and one stay at home mom with three kids and a military husband, we managed to figure it out. We got on three separate planes all headed to one place and for one purpose: to celebrate not only our brother, but also to be together. I had no idea how the long weekend would go. We had never spent more than a night together, how would we last 3 full days?
In the end, it was the trip that we needed.
We left that trip having become closer, knowing one another in a different way. We left that trip with memories that we aren't soon to forget. We left that trip with a new found respect for the other four people who make up our family.
I finally feel as if I have the relationship with my brothers and sister that I've always craved. We're five very different people, with five very different lives. But the five of us now have something more - we're beginning our own memories together that we didn't make as children. We're getting a chance to start over and to be present and to enjoy our time together. It's a second chance that I desperately needed to form that bond I've yearned for. And now, those four people in my life are four of my very favorite people to be with. And I can't wait for our next trip.