I’ve never really known what it meant. Or what it takes. To be a sibling takes emotional effort that I am not unwilling to offer, but it is a role I just have never really been presented with an opportunity to properly honor.
Sure, I had my brothers before I lost them that day when I also lost my birth mom all of those years ago. But we didn’t really know brotherhood at that age. We were young, puppies, and we had no idea what such a thing really meant. I thought maybe I understood it when I lived at my first adoptive home with all of those other dogs and cats. But that wasn’t quite right either. Then something happened when dear baby Carter was born.
Not only did I inherit a puppy brother I’m still figuring out, but I learned a few things about what it means to be a sibling. It started the very first night dear Carter came home when mom and dad were completely and utterly overwhelmed. I think it probably happens to any and every parent that first night or two when they bring their new little person home. Shock. The reality of what it really means to be overtired. Confusion. And, at the heart of it all, love. For this little life and all the change it means for the family, as well as for life itself.
My people felt none of that love that first night. All they felt was complete and utter exhaustion. So when they called mom’s sister Morgan to the rescue, I was not surprised. I knew my abilities to help were limited and I was frankly more than relieved upon her arrival. She stayed with Carter and I while mom and dad caught a half hour or two of sleep. She cuddled Carter and I cuddled her.
I was reminded of those moments tonight when mom was rocking Carter to sleep. She was stroking his hand in a way that seemed to make him relax, which I later learned is somewhat a trade secret of hers. It’s something she used to do for her baby sister way (way) back when to help her sleep. She would rub her silky smooth little hand way longer than necessary just to make sure she was really and truly asleep. She thought of this tonight as she did the same on Carter’s soft little hand.
It all made me think that maybe I know more than I thought I did about what it means to be a sibling. The emotional effort I thought I’d never really understood? Maybe I know it better than I thought I did. Because I know true and unconditional love. I know what that looks like. And I’m not going to lie. From the ground up, when that kind of love is applied to the sibling life, it all sounds pretty special to me.