My twin brother’s birthday is tomorrow. He’s a wonderful man. Thoughtful, caring, hard-working, funny, and someone who anyone would be proud and honored to call a friend. But what’s best for me is that I get to call him “brother.” We have six other brothers, too, and love for them is great. Can’t forget my seven sisters, nieces and nephews, and “the greats.” What a great family we have. However, I have to say that there’s nothing like having your soulmate born with you, and sharing your life … all these years.
My twin surprised me “big time” for our birthday this year.
Yeah, his birthday is tomorrow, and mine is as well, four minutes earlier (I’ll never let J forget that he is “my little brother.”) Over the past several years, he has visited my partner and me for our birthday week. We’ve done adventurous things, like ride motorcycles together, gone fishin’, and played with the kiddos. We’ve visited family, old friends and neighbors, and what’s been best: we just sit and talk, for hours and hours and hours. I love that; he’s so intelligent and interesting to share a conversation with. My partner loves that, too.
Because my partner has been ill with a long-term infectious disease, which causes random but severe symptoms at unpredictable times, a couple months ago, I asked my brother not to plan a trip to visit. While our door is always open to him, and I love having him and his wife just down the hall, because my partner’s condition is so fragile, my partner and I didn’t want to have overnight guests — even my twin. That’s something, but just “had to be” this year until my partner recovers.
My family would not abide that. All of them are very worried about me. It’s tough being a caregiver as well as a partner for someone you love. And caring for someone in this condition is very hard to do sometimes, what with the emotional roller-coaster that the toxins produced by the disease cause. But my partner is my best half. It is not an obligation, but a devotion of joy to care for my partner through sickness and in health. However, the fam worries that my devotion has strained my mental health, and affected me in other ways. Having them truly demonstrate how they care by being there for me, ensuring that one of them can be there for my partner while another takes me away for a break — leaves me speechless.
I am also blessed with a large cadre of senior pals who are also helping out. While I take them grocery shopping or do odd-jobs and repairs in their homes, they are helping me by making me feel good in providing comfort and care. That’s just who I am. My senior pals have been preparing specialized meals that my partner has to have to accommodate a very strange and restricted diet. I tell ‘ya, I get tired of preparing rabbit food all the time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: paying it forward pays back. My senior pals are a treasure — for my heart, my soul, and my positive outlook.
Back to the surprise: my brother showed up yesterday afternoon. His wife was with him, too. They flew all the way here (Maryland USA) from their home near Rome, Italy. He told me that he just could not stay away on our birthday. “Get over it,” he said. “I’m here, and I’m going to make you take a break and have some fun if it kills me!” (giggle)
I wasn’t that surprised, really. He did very well keeping his visit a secret until just a few days ago when he made a comment on this blog revealing his plans. He and his wife are staying with Sister M, instead of us. We will spend a lot of time together this week, but not in my home. I hope the weather is suitable for him to rent a Harley and join me on Saturday for a planned motorcycle ride to the Chesapeake Bay to get crabs. Steamed Chesapeake Blue Crabs are a tradition, and a favorite for both of us.
I am enjoying a complete week off from work, writing and consulting and meeting and such — my birthday present to myself. All to have time to spend with those I cherish and love: my partner, and the bestest twin any brother could have. Ever. I look forward to visits with my family, some special senior pals, and riding with my biker buds, too. The net we build and maintain carries us forward — and me in a very positive direction — for which I am truly grateful.
While I am extending thanks, let me also give a shout-out to several friends with whom I communicate via email regularly. You know who you are. Thank you very much for keeping in touch, and for sharing your life with me. I feel your smiles though each and every communication, and appreciate it very much.
Life is short: show those you love how you love them. I am counting my blessings each minute of every day.