My brother and his family came to our house on Christmas Eve. I adore his children, and love spending time with him and his wife. They are the family I have left. With my mother mentally handicapped, and the rest of my family estranged from each other, my younger brother and I are each other's family.
There was a time, when I was very young, when my family was a large and happy collection of aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. Somehow, over the years, it has dwindled down to just us and the occasional visits from one of our aunts. I miss the idea of them, but the memories of the actual people have faded in my mind.
Through all of the turmoil of mental illness, disappearing relatives, and general upheaval, my brother and I have leaned on each other. We have become each other's confidante, adviser, and friend. There is an ease in spending time with him that I don't have with many other people. In him, I have one of the few people whose history I know, who knows mine as well, and we accept and love each other in spite of that.
As I sat watching him snuggle with my newest niece on Monday, I couldn't help but think that this is what I want for my own children. Not the no one else part, but the part where they have a relationship with their siblings which is more than just growing up in the same house with the same crazy parents. I want them to have a deep and genuine friendship with each other. I want them to know that their brothers and sisters are the unshakable support and unwavering loyalty which I have been fortunate to know.
That is my Christmas wish for my children, my fervent prayer. I want for them to love each other, fight for each other, and defend each other. I want them to have the kind of relationship that if someone asks "Do you get along with your brother?" That they can answer as I do, "I adore him.", and that, like me, they will truly mean it.