As I type this my brother Matthew is flying somewhere in the sky on his way back to Alaska and I am sitting in my living room in North Carolina. Today as I can feel the miles separate us as he gets closer and closer to the Alaskan soil, I start to get emotional.
Matthew and I are about 18 months apart in age. I don’t remember life without him and he doesn’t remember life without me. He is one of my best friends. I love talking to him, laughing with him, learning with him and just spending time with him. I actually wrote a bit about him in a previous post. We grew up together the way that most brother and sister do. It was a typical love/hate relationship. There were plenty of “that’s mine” and “stop hitting” and “I have bubblegum in my hair” and “he did it” and “she did it” and of course… “I didn’t do it”. There were also plenty of long talks and good advice given. Plenty of hugs and always someone that I could turn to.
As we grew older (specifically after our college years) The love part of our relationship started to grow. A mutual respect appeared. I enjoyed more than ever talking with him. I enjoyed even more hearing him say that he was proud of me. We began to talk about things that we had never talked about together. We began to laugh about things that we had never laughed about together.
He became one of my best friends.
Matthew moved to Alaska about three months before I gave birth to my first son (almost three years ago; wow time flies). I still remember vividly the day he left.
His truck was towing a camper packed to the brim with most of his belongings. I snuck into his truck and put a picture of our entire family on his console that read “Alaska or Bust”. We tried to delay the inevitable. His dog, Chisholm, patiently waited for the big departure. As he pulled out of the drive and honked three times I cried and cried and cried. I was worried about him. Worried about the drive, the people he would meet, if he would like it there, would he make good friends, what if he didn’t like it, and so on and so on… and I already was missing him.
So many happy events have taken place since the day he moved; weddings, babies, parties, and such. We have also been rocked by some tough events. I can’t begin to describe how badly I have wanted him here to celebrate the happy moments with us and to help us process the bad ones. He seems to be able to make sense of things that my mind doesn’t grasp.
He is one of my best friends.
As much as I want him here with us to be near my children and our parents and our other brothers and their families… I want more for him to be right where he is now. I could not be more proud of him for the life he has created for himself in a far away strange land. He has flourished in Alaska, becoming a man that I am more and more proud of every time I talk to him. He has handpicked and surrounded himself with an exceptional group of friends, some that I have had the good fortune to meet. I don’t worry about him anymore. He is where he is supposed to be.
There is a quote by Mark Twain that I have always loved. It reminds me so much of my brother.
Twenty years form now you will be more dissappointed by the things that you don’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe horbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~ Mark Twain
Earlier today as we played outside, my two year old son heard an airplane and waved up to the sky and yelled “bye bye Uncle Map” (still learning those t’s)… my eyes swelled with tears and my throat closed up a bit. What a lucky little sister I am to have somebody I miss so much.
Thanks for your time,