I have a brother... In fact, I have two.
I refer to my younger brother. He came along a couple of years after I did, in the 60s, and he is the closest sibling in age to me, of the four that I have. The other three are all my seniors, and his too.
My younger brother is many things to me. He is my kid brother, of course, but he is also my oldest friend and longest standing playmate. He was one of the first people to make me laugh... and cry. He is still capable of both of those things, but, thankfully, over the years, seems to have come to the conclusion that the former is more rewarding than the latter. He is honest and caring, and he seems to appreciate our relationship. He was also responsible for introducing me to the husband, and is one of his oldest friends, and I like the symmetry of that, too.
I don’t know what it is about my life right now, about the times I am living through, about my mindset, my emotional state, my... my whatever, but I seem to be assessing my relationships quite a lot at the moment. I seem to be looking at my family members and my friends, and realising what they mean to me and just how important some of them are.
I don’t want to suggest sentimentality. I don’t want to diminish my most important relationships by suggesting that every passing acquaintance fills my heart, because, honestly, it doesn’t, but those few key people, those constant friends, those close family members, those few who seem to understand or intuit, those wonderful individuals who reach out a hand and a heart when most I need a moment’s respite from the turmoil that can threaten to overwhelm me... Those people should be celebrated, and my brother looms very large among them.
We do not always agree, we do not always get along, and sometimes our differences cause us to have what you might characterise as quite heated discussions, but we are, forever and always, allies. He is endlessly good-natured and utterly reliable, and he fills a role in the rich pageant in my life that couldn’t possibly be taken by anyone else.
He is, in short, a wonder to me, and I am, and shall ever be, eternally grateful for him.