the wrong side of the bed

Thursday, January 05, 2006

to fraternal love*

i've been reading Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sara Vowell. i think my brother or sister-in-law gave it to me for christmas/solstice/whatever. in the book, there is an essay about the meaning of being a twin. i am not a twin, but i am still very close to my siblings. we are good friends in addition to being relatives. i mean, when i lived in austin, i regularly hung out with chuck and christie because i really, really wanted to. they are funny and we like the same kind of food. we have a good time together. i love them a great deal not just because they are neat people, but also because they share an understanding of my specific history. they know about catching crawdads in the big drainage ditch across the street. they know about walking down by the dump to pick blackberries. they can laugh about the time mom and dad broke the window in the kitchen when they both knocked on the glass to scare away a squirrel, despite repeatedly chiding us for knocking on the window. they also know how not funny that moment really was because it could have ended in my dad throwing a hissy fit (it thankfully did not).

anyway, i was thinking, as i was reading about sara vowell and her twin, that i often get more upset in movies and books when someone's sibling dies than when someone's parent dies. i tend to cry during any fictional account of death, but make it the death of a relative and the crying lasts all day. i may watch the movie at 12:45 (matinee prices!), and suddenly start crying about it again at 6:30 while I am cooking dinner.

i think on some level, i am much more prepared for my parents to die. as much as i don't like to think about it, i must admit i have. i think it is one of those things that kept me up so late when i was in elementary school. i had horrible insomnia when i was a kid that i have mostly outgrown. when i think about my parents dying, i know that i will have chuck and christie to help me through, but what should happen if one of them dies? i know my parents would be there for me, but, i would really feel like a part of me had died, too. i feel like my brother and sister are part of my understanding of the world. if they are gone, some of my memories will be gone. some of my ways of processing information will be gone. some of my survival techniques will be gone.

my brother and sister are not in any particular danger of dying. well, i worry a bit about my brother living in new orleans right now. the lawlessness of that town seems to have escalated even more. plus, i really think he must be exposed to so many environmental contaminants dredged up by the flood. other than that, i think we can all sleep well tonight knowing that i don't have to prepare for a life without my siblings any time soon.

i'm finally sleepy enough to sleep, i think. i was having trouble. i'm not sure i have resolved all of the problems that i was worrying about regarding my siblings, but i think 1:14 is too late for me to worry about it anyway.

* from an episode of the simpsons. lisa makes a model of the state flag with the state motto "to fraternal love" written in macaroni. during the night, bart changes the flag to read "learn to fart." my brother and sister would never do this!
12:54 AM

2 Comments:

I got that book for Christmas, too, and I really liked it--I was struck at the beginning by the part about going to the Gettysburg celebration: "Like all pilgrims, I was a mess. You don't cross state lines for the 137th anniversary of anything unless something is missing in your life." I think this is probably at the root of my deep and long-standing desire to take a road trip.

But the thing about siblings strikes a chord for me, too. I love my sisters a lot and I feel like we're pretty close, especially as we get older. I worry a lot about something happening to family members in general, too.
Blogger Rhymes With Scrabble, at 10:54 AM  
Thank you for lending me the book. And for not outing me about forcing you to go movies at matinee prices!
Eden and I are made of the same stuff. I've always thought that. Created by the two same, v. insane, parents, we are eachother's memories.
Blogger Belle Reve, at 12:42 PM  

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