I feel distant from my brothers. That distance is approximately six miles and sixteen and a half miles respectively, assuming they are at home.
I would like to think that I’m a good older brother. The only place I fall down is that I probably look younger than either of them.
I did my fair share of psychological torture when we were younger but that has phased out over time to leave beautiful friendships in my life which I will always be grateful for. I mention my brothers because in the last two weeks I have had moments with each of them where I recognised what it means to have brothers and how thankful I am to have them in my life and for them to recognise the same in their small way. Neither Robb or Edd are big gesture people. I have always been the emotional one. I once fled the table in tears when they told me Baby Spice had a boyfriend. When they were getting football kit and micro scooters for birthdays, I had a pottery wheel and the works of Lewis and Tolkien.
Last weekend I helped Robb out of a bind because he had to work unexpectedly. He does such an incredible job of juggling fatherhood and work, providing for his family to the absolute best of his ability and then falling asleep in the bath. I look at the way he keeps those plates spinning and am in awe of him. He’s doing the parent thing and I don’t know when he became such an adult.
I helped ferry his eldest, Harry, to football practice and then made cookies with Harry and Kadie, my niece.
When Robb got home I gave him some life advice and then helped him and his wife load the kids into the car. He came around to where I had just finished fighting Kadie into her seat and said “you know what, you’re a good brother”. We hugged.
That’s all I need. I would go to the ends of the earth for that boy and all he will ever have to do is acknowledge it.
Last weekend, I helped Edd and his fiancé, Angelina, move house. I got there as early as I could, with a hangover, to find the pair of them fretting because their possessions had expanded in the five years they had been in their flat. The operation of moving it all themselves was a bit overwhelming. With the help of Angelina’s family, we got it all packed up. Of course, I cut my hand open when we were shifting stuff out to the van and bled everywhere, but that’s the nature of me trying to do any manual labour. I bought a pack of black sacks and threw everything I could into bags so we could get over to their new house.
At the other side, I helped unload the van and tried to make sense of what they had brought with them.
It was a busy day and I hoped that in some way, having me there made it easier for the pair of them.
When I announced that I had to bounce, Edd hugged me and thanked me for all of my help. Again, that was all it took. I knew I had completed my part in being a good older brother. To see him in his new place, doing a fairly good impression of an adult, was a surreal experience.
I recognise that I am fortunate to be as close to my brothers as I am. That’s not the case for a lot of families. It’s like having best friends who are contractually obliged to love you. We may be older and we may be losing our hair but as far as I’m concerned, we could pull a dance routine to Grease Lightnin’ out the bag tomorrow if we needed to.