By nature, I am not normally very contemplative.
I don't spend a ton of time thinking about the day's gone by or yearning for yesteryear. At times, I could probably even be accused of being some what flippant. It is not hard for me to let things go, or shut things off.
However, on Sunday, I found myself laying in the afternoon sun on our deck thinking about years gone by. Yearning to go back in time, and grab the girl I once was and hug her, and whisper truth in her ear. I was yearning for friendship lost, for experiences never taken, and for mistakes that were made.
All of this was brought on by seeing someone I have not seen in 7 years. Someone whom I've always loved, but walked out of my life 15 years ago. Someone who cut the cord, and didn't make me a priority for a long time. That someone is my brother.
Because he was my older brother, I idolized him. I wanted to be his best friend, and would do anything for him. He gave me my first sip of beer, let me drive his truck around the neighborhood when I was just 13 and my parents weren't home. He took me to my first high school party. He took me shopping with his money and bought me a pair of boots I wanted that my parents would not get for me because they were too expensive. He was a great older brother.
15 years ago, he was in college at Texas A&M, studying Economics, and seemed to have everything going for him. He was smart, funny, and had a ton of friends. Everything was going according to plan.
Then, one day, he called home and told my mom he was dropping out of school. He came home dropped off all his possessions, and walked out of our lives. He spent the past 15 years living in 7 different countries, working on and off, studying, and becoming fluent in several different languages. He has been a bit of a bohemian for the past decade. During that time, he would write a few letters a year, and call to check in maybe once a month at most.
For those left behind, it was almost like dealing with a death. We mourned, we missed him, we were angry, we accepted, and we grew, and we changed. We had to. It was almost like my brother leaving made my parents and I cling to each other that much more.
2 years ago, my brother came home, a decision that he never fully explained. He stayed at my parents house for a few weeks, and decided that he wanted to finish school and stay in the States. During the past 2 years, we have talked on the phone a handful of times, but have never seen each other until this past weekend.
For the long 4th of July weekend, P and I drove down to central Texas to spend the long weekend with my side of the family. To say I was nervous and didn't know what to expect would be an understatement. When he walked through the door on Friday afternoon, the moment was exciting, surreal, and uncomfortable. I didn't quite know how to act or what to say.
The weekend flew by, and he had a lot of fun. We talked, we ate, we caught up a bit. Will I see him again soon, that I cannot answer.
But, the experience left me thinking so many things. I was flooded with memories that I had long since forgotten. Sunday evening, I stared off into the sunset and allowed my mind to wander. I thought about the good and bad.
You never get a say in the hand you are dealt, you just learn to deal and adapt. You learn how to operate in the situation in which you are placed. You learn how to live and thrive even when you are hurting. You learn from the past, and hope for a better future. You learn that nothing is certain, and that sometimes plans fall through, and people let you down. You learn that "normal" is a fluid concept.