Sibs

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My little brother just got back from his mission, and it’s kind of made me feel better about life.

Because someone very wise said on our Facebook page recently (in response to one of my two-baby panic attacks): ‘one of the best gifts I ever gave my children was their siblings’. And then my brother came back, and I realised it was true. There is nothing like the relationship you have with someone who grew up in the same house. You become old, old versions of yourselves; you know the same stories, and the stories aren’t even very good, but they go back twenty years, and that’s enough.

One day last week he found a piece of music I played for a wedding, nearly a decade ago – I made him pretend to walk down the aisle while I practised; a role he embraced with worrying enthusiasm – and he sent it to me. I looked up the whole song, and emailed back ‘FORGOT ABOUT THAT CHORD JUST BEFORE THE CHORUS. FLIPPING HECK’.

It’s a tear-jerker of a diminished seventh. No one, no one at all in the world, would get it better than him. I’ve got stuff like that with all three of my siblings, and it never occurred to me to thank my mother for it, until now.

A few days later it was US Mother’s Day. I was so grateful to my lovely mama for the sheer guts-and-grit that got her through four babies, four toddlers, four sets of dance and music recitals, four teenagers and their stupid hair. Then I sat with Henry in the evening, watching The Prince of Egypt, his arm propped casually on his brother’s head. The first unwilling arm-rest of many, I assume.

I hope they’ve got a diminished seventh or two between them in twenty years’ time.

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