Last Sunday, my brother and my nephew joined us for dinner at our home.
Our kitchen table was crowded with seven place settings (my parents, me, Bill, my brother, and our two boys) and the high chair crammed into the corner.
We had ridiculously huge steaks, mashed potatoes, and soup...for dessert, Jell-o instant pudding per my brother's request (vanilla and chocolate).
My brother's been going through a rough time...aside from his legal troubles, there is some serious personal sh*t that I am only beginning to comprehend.
Basically, he's living the ultimate blues song (and the irony wasn't lost on me the last time I saw him play, a few weeks ago...it was truly a gift to hear him play that night).
Last Sunday, we didn't touch much on his struggles...we did talk loudly over one another, we did laugh.
We laughed a lot.
Last Sunday, we had no way of knowing exactly when my brother would be going away (to prison)...we knew it was imminent, but we didn't know exactly when.
Yesterday, Rob told me, "I have to turn myself in tomorrow at two o'clock..."
I didn't sleep last night.
I'm past wondering if I could have helped him more (and he thanked me today for helping him as much as I have, for being here for him)...I haven't judged him because I've never felt like it's my place to do so.
He's my brother and I love him unconditionally.
No matter what, I'm on his side...it's always been that way (even when he drew a picture of me on his wall and threw forks and butter knives at it...even when he popped the heads off my Barbies and drew around their eyes with Sharpies...even when he drooled/dumped a can of chicken broth on my high school sweetheart in an effort to scare him away...I digress...this to say, good or bad, I'm on his side).
I can't even say we've had our differences...because, we haven't.
While I've disagreed with choices he has made and rolled my eyes or shook my head at plenty of his transgressions, he's never hurt me and he's always been here for me.
We weren't able to spend much/enough time together today which made it that much harder to let him go...
I hung onto our parting words all day long and I'll hang on to them every day until he comes home.
And I am so, so thankful for last Sunday...