One of my favorite parts about visiting J's family is watching him with his brothers.
They pretend they're only mildly pleased to see each other...pats on the back, handshakes...
But then they gather in the yard with a wiffle ball and a lawn chair to mark the strike zone. I sit on the sidewalk, resolutely unhelpful in catching and returning stray balls. And while I take pictures of flowers and soak up all the sun I can get, I listen to them joking and teasing each other.
Greg is the youngest. It feels like everything out of his mouth is a joke (and he is funny), but at heart he is the sweetest...the least likely to argue and the happiest to see everyone gathering at home again.
Michael is the middle child. We can relate about that, I think. He is a profound intellectual, an artist, and the most likely to argue...but always in defense of truth and rightness.
And Joe is the oldest. He is the big bear, comforting and quiet. Like many oldest children, he appears to let nothing bother him and is always ready with advice for his brothers. I know that the feeling of responsibility has never left him.
If any of them read this, they will laugh at how sentimental it sounds. Because the truth is, they spend most of their time together reminiscing about when Michael pooped in Joe's bedroom (he was 2) and seeing how many times they can get their mother to roll her eyes.
At the wedding we attended last weekend, Joe and Greg shared a total of five entrees between them. This is their quality time.
When we're visiting, I get to talk philosophy with Michael while I poke Greg in the ribs, trying to find that ticklish spot. I have to admit, it feels like a little honor that I'll be able to call myself their sister soon.
When it's time to say good bye, they maybe hug, and I tease them for loving each other more than they'd care to admit.