On Friday night our oldest nephew graduated from high school. During commencement all of the graduates were given a carnation, and then they were asked to go out into the audience and give the flower to someone who’s supported them.
Our nephew gave his carnation to his younger brother.
Everyone cried (including the brothers). It was beyond touching.
The next morning, as my husband mowed the lawn and I frantically ran around trying to make sure we were properly packed for a full day of tee-ball and graduation celebration, our almost six year-old called out from the front yard:
“Mum, if you’re packing and Dad’s mowing, then I got no one to play catch with.”
This is not the first time our darling boy has been denied a game of catch due to scheduling. It’s just the first time I heard it as a commentary on his only-child reality.
Ken is the youngest of three. I’m the oldest of four. We care deeply for all of our siblings (and each other’s) and connect with all of them regularly. We never planned on denying our own son this unique (and at times mysterious) bond, but, turns out we are in fact one-and-done.
Briggs has (and will have) many extraoridnary people who love him completely and unconditionally. It’s just that none of those people will be his brothers or sisters.
And, just as I started to spiral into that dark and lonely vortex of guilt and self-disgust, I remembered, our nephews’ Mom. Who gave me the gift of being my BIG sister when I married into her family at age 27.
I remembered the boys I ran with in high school. How they’d come over to help me stack firewood in the summer or shovel snow in the winter, so that my parents would let me go with them to get dinner at Applebee’s in Keene, or watch a movie at CinemaWorld in Fitchburg.
I remembered that I’ve only known my friend Sara for a few months and we already finish each other’s sentences.
I remembered that for as long as I can remember, I’ve always had sisters, and they’ve always had me, and still…every single one of us has been left with no one to play catch with at one time or another.
I’ll never feel good about Briggs missing out on brothers and sisters, but perhaps it doesn’t serve any of us all that well to feel too badly about it either.
Because after all, we all belong to each other anyway.