My dear readers, that was very difficult.
Out of my three brothers, he's the one I haven't really connected with yet. In fact, we spent quite a few of our high school years hating each other. Well, I never really hated him and I don't think he actually hated me, but we acted that way. We haven't had more than a simple conversation in months. Every time we get together, my parents warn us not to fight, to "be pleasant" with each other.
But I still cried.
I honestly didn't think I would. I thought it would be exciting to drop him off, wave goodbye, be the big sister sending him off on an adventure. Instead, I bit my lip as he turned his back for the final time and walked away. Then I lowered my sunglasses (inside the airport) so my parents wouldn't see me tear up.
So why? Why did all this emotion suddenly hit me when I'm usually a rather stoic person?
Being the writer that I am, I'm betting it's the symbolism. (Did you hear that, English teachers everywhere?)
It struck me as I walked out of that airport, I wasn't only saying goodbye to my brother, but to the end of something I've been a part of for nineteen years. It's the end of being a kid, a child or whatever you want to call us. We're adults now, all four of us and there's nothing I can do about it. Yes, I grew up a whole lot when I went away to school last year but one thing that remained constant was my brother was still in high school. Behind me, following in my footsteps, just as I followed (somewhat) in the footsteps of my older brothers. Now I don't know where he is. I can't call him when I have a weird question or ask him about kids from school. And this to me, is something new.
Growing up and moving on. It's not easy. It's weird. Sometimes it hurts more than you think it will. But it will happen, regardless of how much I wish I was still building with blocks in the hallway while my parents cooked dinner in the next room.
So this post is a shout out to my brother. I don't pray often but I pray right now for this: keep him safe and bring him home again. Make sure he stumbles then pick him up again to show him that it's okay to fall. Let him have the time of his life but please God, don't let him grow up too fast.
Goodbyes are hard. But it will make our next hello that much sweeter :)