Sunday, February 13, 2011

What I love about brothers

     I was going to start this post with some very clever puns on the word malefactors, but considering how hard it is to discern the tone of text, where the same words might range from sisterly sarcasm to rooted resentment, I thought it could be taken the wrong way.  And it would spoil it to say "just kidding...I meant that in the nicest way possible."  Which is kind of what I'm doing anyway.  I just trust you'll excuse me for not wanting a rare moment of wittiness to pass by entirely concealed.

     So, after me come three boys, thirteen, eleven, and eight.  How do I explain what this is like?  If you have brothers, I don't have to.  If you don't, I won't even try.  I think God gave me brothers largely so I could grow in virtue.  Boys are boys - even the best and sweetest of boys are boys, and they try my patience.  Actually they try nearly every virtue I've got, plus I'm pretty sure several gifts of the Holy Spirit and most of the Beatitudes.  And they make painfully obvious the ones I don't posses.

     This is good for me.  I'm reminded daily how much war I've yet to wage in the battle for holiness by reflecting on my behavior towards my brothers.  And even though it doesn't look like it, chances are I'm a way better person for having little brothers...if I didn't, I'd be even more selfish and persnickety than I am anyway...I just might not have occasion to show it at this point in my life.  But I'd never have occasion to battle it either, until later when maybe it was too late to conquer.

    So forgive me, my dear brothers, that you guys get to be what helps me work out my vices, receiving the brunt of all my failed tries at being holier. Years from now you can tell my children, "Lucky for you kids you have us three uncles; your mother would be much nastier to you now if she hadn't worked through a bunch of nastiness on us."  But please don't.

   Recently I read Eight Cousins.  Rose says to her uncle, "'I have discovered what girls are made for...To take care of boys.'"  Now isn't that sweet?  I could go so many directions with this quote - likely I will sometime - but to stick to the point, it gave me a whole new outlook on my interactions with my brothers.  Maybe that hasn't manifested in my behavior towards them, but it is a little something to add to my interior deposit of motivations to be a good, kind sister...which I pray in the long-term will have a substantial  affect.

   Now I must say there are really wonderful and beautiful things about having little brothers which I would not give up for all the peace, quiet tidyness in the world...individually their passion, their thoughtfulness and their affection; as a whole, their joy, flamboyance, their hugs, their overall carefree fun.  That's what I love about brothers.   

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Ladies of the House (and Beyond)

            I would like to pay tribute to the  other women of the family - my mother and two older sisters (my baby sister fits into another category; I'll devote a post to he sometime ). It is such a privilege to have these three ladies in my life who are my very best friends.  They are an example of true femininity and have shaped my life profoundly.  Even on a material level, there are many activities that because of my mother and sisters I have a whole different level of experience and appreciation; activities which, for me, will always have posses more meaning than their names imply, such as...
  • Drinking tea
  • Chocolate and cheesecake
  • Shopping
  • Sharing clothes
  • Baking (especially tweaking recipes until they have totally surrendered to a horde of nutritious ingredients which we would never admit to adding when serving the boys our baking).
  • Girls' movie nights (BBC classics!)
  • Walks
  • Country music in truck #7
...I could go on.  So thank you, Mama, girls, my life wouldn't be the same without our little community of womenfolk.

Stay tuned for my next post:  what I love about brothers.  That will be fun.