“The highlight of my childhood was making my brother laugh so hard that food came out his nose.” ~Garrison Keillor

Though that never happened, I think it was always a dream of mine to be as amusing to my brother as he was to me. He was precocious, exasperatingly inquisitive, and fearless (with the scars to prove it). He was always funny, always entertaining, always performing. He is still performing.

I have no memory of the time before he came along (a year and a week after me) which means my childhood world always included that partner in crime. Jumping from bureau to bookshelf to bed with a towel tied around your neck superhero-cape-style is never as satisfying without an accomplice. Luckily he was always keen.

I hear other people talk about how competitive they were with their siblings. I don’t remember feeling that way. The outside world could be very competitive, but I always felt that he had my back. I tried to look out for him, too. Our mom reminded us to be nice to each other; for my part–for the most part–that was easy.

As adults we’ve lived in neighboring towns for years without seeing much of each other. We are both self-employed, with business commitments and family responsibilities. He called me today and I remembered how we used to hang out together the night before school started in the fall. We’d talk about the summer: how it went too fast, what we thought the new year would be like. I realized that I’ve missed little things like that. You forget how simple conversations and connections can really anchor you. You forget how much you sometimes need anchors.

Maya Angelou said, “I don’t believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.” It’s easy to let these relationships go, to assume people will always be there. To take them for granted. I’m thinking I will work a little harder at this, myself.