Yesterday was my biggest brother’s birthday. He and his wife live in California with my adorable baby niece and are the only members of my immediate family who don’t live within 10 miles of my house. I think they would like to return to the Far North in the future, but there aren’t a lot of jobs here in his field of work. Instead, they’re preparing to move across the country so that he can work in Maryland. Fortunately, his wife’s parents live near there, so it’ll be a good situation for them. But that means they are pretty much as far away from home as possible.
And every time my other brother (we’ll call him big brother--not to be confused with biggest brother), his wife, my sister, and I get together here in our hometown (which is about twice a week), I am keenly aware that we’re missing a few people. Yesterday was such a day. Sister, Roommate, and I slept in and were still in pajamas when my sister-in-law called to see if we wanted to do lunch. We all rushed into showers, clean clothes, and make-up and made it to our favorite local restaurant by half-past noon. If you had seen us 45 minutes earlier, you might think this was a miracle. And you would be right.
Anyway, during lunch, I asked big bother if he could take us out on a lake in his john boat, so that Roommate could get to experience some of the beauty that is the Far North. My brother is also really into fishing, so I asked if he could take us to the river sometime while Roommate is in town. I’ve been fishing for most of my life, but I don’t currently have any of the gear and he knows the best spots. And I’m sure that there are a great many people in California who know how to fish, but Roommate has somehow managed to live a quarter of a century without learning. It’s practically a way of life here, so I figured we could teach her. Or he could. My fishing skills are negligible. Yes, I’ve been doing it forever, but that doesn’t mean I’m good at it.
This request is how we turned an impromptu lunch with big brother and his wife into an entire day of fun with them. We fished until dinner, which we had at another local favorite place (the best sandwich shop in town). Then we headed off to Youth Group, which is a mid-week church event for 6th-12th graders run by my brother and his wife and that my sister and I volunteer at. After we ran round with teenagers for two hours, we ended up back at my brother's house to watch Tangled and eat ice cream. All in all, a great day! And a fantastic way to introduce Roommate to my hometown and my family. But, like most days with the four of us family members, I missed the other three.
Maybe someday, all the people I love will live in the same place, Roommate included. I’m hoping this trip works some kind of magic on her and she suddenly wants to exchange year-long summers, soccer, and her family for dark/cold winters, 24-hour daylight in the summer, and a completely different culture. Yes. Magic. That’s what it would take. And I’ve only got five more days to find it!
Oh. And, yes, I called Biggest Brother and wished him a happy birthday. It sounds like he could have used a little magic--his birthday was pretty crappy. But he was home with my niece by then, who was cheering him up with her adorability and her sweet smiles. She's a cute, quirky kid--while he was on the phone with me, she insisted on having a sippy cup in each hand (one with milk and one with water) and being carried around while she drank from both. He was laughing by the end of the conversation, so maybe he found a little bit of that magic...