In life I’ve always found it a good idea to count your blessings. To be grateful for what and who you have in your life around you. I read quite frequently that in order to be happy, it’s important to practise ‘gratitude’. We are so often caught up in the daily routine of life, it’s hard to sit back and enjoy what you have – but most importantly- who you have in your life.
I’m blessed to have a sister and brother who are always there for me. My sister is my childhood friend, adviser, counsellor. But today’s blog isn’t about her. Today’s blog is about my little brother, who turns 30 on Monday.
In a couple of weeks when it’s my birthday, I will be 11 years older than him. For now, I will bask in the glory of only being 10 years older and wiser.
I still remember the day that he was born. My grandparents were looking after my sister and I, my dad phoned to say that we had a little brother and he was going to pick us up to take us to the hospital to see him. My sister and I were walking along the corridor and we could hear a baby screaming at the top of its lungs in the distance. I remember shuddering and thinking who did that silly baby belong to. To my horror, my dad was leading us to the exact room where the screaming was coming from. We walked in and I saw a doctor holding up a baby – the baby stopped screaming and looked at me and my sister for about 5 seconds – and then continued screaming at the top of his lungs.
I distinctly remember a look of terror being exchanged between my sister and I. Was this our little brother? We were not impressed!
Things changed though when I was allowed to hold him for the first time. You know what it’s like with new babies – they are passed around like a game of pass the parcel. Each person thinks that they have the magic touch. It still amuses me now – a baby is crying- then ensues the competition- who’s going to get the baby to stop crying first? So my brother was being passed around but he was squirming and not enjoying it, finally he was passed to me. I was wearing a turquoise cardigan that my mum had knitted for me a few month earlier. Apprehensively, I held him. Everyone around me was watching with bated breath, wondering if I was going to drop him on his head. Of course, I didn’t. And he didn’t cry or squirm or wriggle like he did with the others. He just calmly lay in my eyes, fascinated with the blue colour and texture of my cardigan. I was delighted that he was so happy to be with me, and I remember everyone else commenting how comfortable he was in his big sister’s arms. It was at that moment that I bonded with this little brother of mine and decided perhaps he wasn’t so bad after all.
That sense of wanting to look after him and protect him continued through the weeks, months and years that followed.
I remember the first time that my sister and I made him laugh. He was lying in his pram and some flies were buzzing around him, we were jumping everywhere trying to chase these pesky flies away and for some reason he found it hilarious.
I remember my sister and I carrying him around on our backs, yelling who wants to buy our sack of potatoes?
But it wasn’t just fun and games. I always felt that my brother and sister were closer than he and I were because they were closer in age and had a shared love of football and other sports. There was a time when as a part of my university course I had the chance to go to America for 10 days. It was an amazing trip. Mum said that I wasn’t allowed to take my house keys, she was worried that I would lose them. So she gave them to my little brother and told me to pick them up from his school when I came back. I distinctly recall that it was lunch time and I saw my brother coming down the corridor, half running, half jogging, not too fast in case someone told him off for running. I smiled at him expecting to see him grin back – but instead he burst into tears and held onto me for ages. Relieved that I was back. I was 19 and he was 8, and I know that made me realise how much I did mean to him back then.
One thing that my brother could never bear – and he is still like this now – he cannot bear to see me upset. There was a time that I was learning to drive. I’d failed the test twice and decided that I was never going to bother learning to drive again. A few months later, that resolve changed and I knew I couldn’t be reliant on other people to drive me around forever. So I took the plunge, saved up so that I could have lessons everyday and then put in for my test. All I can say that I made a few errors and failed again. I was already sobbing when I walked through the door, I then lay on the sofa and cried and cried. My brother, who was probably 9 at the time, came up to be and said that it didn’t matter. These things happened to everyone. He told me how the racing driver Michael Schumacher had failed his test 8 times before he passed! He did his best to make me feel better, I booked a test for the following week and passed.
I never forgot that incident. I never forgot how much he encouraged me. It wasn’t until about ten years later that I brought it up with my brother and he admitted that he had completely made that story up so that I wouldn’t feel sad anymore….
There have been so many countless incidents when he has been there for me like an angel, like a rock. Knowing when to be comforting or when I’ve needed to hear harsh messages and hasn’t minced his words.
4 years ago he gave me a present that changed my life – the Bhagavad Gita. A book of wisdom regardless of which religion you belong to. It will change your life he said. Just believe. And it did. I started a chain of events that did change my life forever. And I will always be grateful to him for that.
In Hinduism, the relationship between a brother and sister is sacred. In the Mahabharata when Draupadi was being humiliated and disrobed in front of her family whilst her husbands looked on helplessly, it was her brother Krishna that saved her and protected her.
In times of need I have always felt grateful that my brother has been there to help.
30 years I have known him and loved him, and what I hope that this birthday brings him the most amount of happiness, health, success and joy that anyone could have.