How have your siblings shaped you?

At times – often unexpectedly – my heart swells with thankfulness and my eyes respond with tender tears. It happened yesterday late afternoon as I was sitting in the back seat of the car, my dad driving my mom and me into town to meet my brothers for a delicious seafood dinner. As I mentioned in the last post, this week I am blessed to spend time with my family in our special vacation spot, Port Clyde, Maine. Gratitude abounds.

As I gazed out the car window, I heard a question: what if I had grown up without these two bozo brothers at my side? Who would I be today without their incredibly influential presence during my childhood years? Many thoughts quickly came to mind.

  • I’d likely never have learned to shoot a crossfire bow, throw a Nolan Ranger-style pitch, strap a holster around my waist, or twirl a pistol around my finger.
  • I’d probably never have spent hours honing my Duck Hunt, Mario Brothers, and Mike Tyson Nintendo skills.
  • I can almost guarantee I would be entirely ignorant about the A-Team, and would never have gained the deep appreciation for Mr. T and his gold chains that I have today.
  • My baseball card collection would never have been as impressive as it was, nor would I have ever developed a love for Darryl Strawberry during his L.A. Dodgers days.
  • I would never have played with Micro Machines. How unthinkable!
  • Who knows if I’d have become so enthusiastic about on-the-field athletics, or if I would have instead chosen to invest my time in ballet, tap, or cheerleading.
  • I may never have experienced such a fabulous season of tomboyishness – hours upon hours of roller hockey in the streets, inning after inning of kickball in the front yard, and countless rounds of “flashlight death” each summer night when the sun finally set.
  • I may never have learned to defend myself with such a strong stance, mean pinch, and debilitating squeeze around the back of the neck that can still drop any fellow down to his knees.
  • I likely would never have eaten acorn and onion soup (“lovingly” made “just for me” by my boy scout brother using ingredients from our back alley).
  • I probably would never have had my hair “Vaselined” in the middle of the night, nor my poor little tongue shocked with a 9-volt battery.
  • I may never have been shown how to build forts better than Tom Sawyer – the real deal, suspended high in the trees, with bells and whistles galore.
  • I can pretty much assure you that my CD pouch would never have included Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Puff Daddy, or Tupac.
  • I probably would never have explored as many creeks, hit homers in as many batting cages, dug up as many fossils, fought as many bad guys, known as many professional sports stats, jumped off as many oceanfront cliffs, or watched and rewatched as many Ernest movies.
  • I certainly would never have felt as cool as I often did – cool by association, because (most times) I thought my brothers were as cool as cool could be.

And of course their influence has continued as we’ve aged alongside each other. Without my brothers, I may never have been inspired to take as many risks, persevere with as much hope, live with as much courage, or love with as much depth. Thank you to my beloved brothers, Ben and Chase. Clearly, I carry you with me each and every day.

How have your siblings shaped you?