Getaway Girl Blog

Oh brother!

My brother and I couldn't be more different.

I'm blonde (well, sorta). He's not.

I'm a flaming liberal. He's right of center.

I am divorced and childless.  He's been happily married to his high school sweetheart for 20 years and he has two adorable kids.

I spend a lot of time alone. He rarely has the opportunity to do so.

I am a talker and am impulsive. He is quiet and he takes things under consideration.

I am emotional and sometimes dramatic. He is a calm Steady Eddie.

Twenty years after our graduation from college, I remain in our home state of Michigan where I enjoy all four seasons: I am an avid downhill skiier and I couldn't live without my summers sailing the Great Lakes. Immediately following college graduation, he and his bride moved to the desert of Arizona where they enjoy snowless winters and hot dry summers.

But with all of our differences, I just couldn't ask for a better friend.

With more than 1,500 miles between our doorsteps for the past 20 years, it would have been easy to drift apart and live our own lives without much interest in one another, especially considering our many differences.

Instead, for reasons that only siblings can explain, we have not allowed geographic distance, nor time, to unravel the ties that bind us. And I do feel tied to him...intellectually, physically and emotionally.

And one nof the things that is kind of funny is that we don't talk or email on any kind of regular basis, but somehow, one or the other of us makes sure we talk at least once a month...sometimes more, probably (sadly), sometimes less. But whenever one of us picks up the phone and finds the other at the other end, we are like the best of friends. There is no awkwardness or stilted conversation. It is as if we just spoke yesterday.

Though I'm not sure where I fall on his list of people he would or could call in a time of need at 4 a.m., I can assure you that he is high on my list.  Over the years, he has listened to me cry into the telephone following more than one boyfriend breakup and he has been kind, compassionate and sympathic; he is the one person with whom I feel comfortable calling and asking for advice about my personal finances; and I've called on more occasions than I can count to ask for career and business advice.

Seven years ago, when I was torn between remaining in a job that I did, indeed enjoy, or making the leap and jumping into self employment -- which is always a risky venture -- I knew there was one person who could and would give me solid advice.  So I called him, knowing his more conservative nature might squelch my own impulsive one.  His response?  "Do it." That was all I needed to hear.  Without hearing those words from him, I might never have had the courage to venture out on my own. Just listening to him and knowing that somewhere, somehow, he believed in me enough to think I could succeed, willed me to do just that.

When we both first moved away from home...him to Arizona, and me to lower Michigan, 500 miles from our hometown, I recall talking to him on the telephone for up to a couple of hours at a time once or twice a month. His wife and my then-husband would ask, "What DO you guys talk about?" knowing that he is the quiet one and I am the talker. Yet, I also remember very vividly that my husband was always surprised whenever he'd walk into a room and hear my side of the conversation, which often amounted to, "Uh huh...oh yeah?  Really?  Well, I think that's a good idea..."

My brother can have a lot to say.

Many of our conversations and shared experiences over the years have revolved around our work. Despite all of our differences, we are both driven to achieve and succeed in our professional lives. We've done that in very different ways, and yet, some of our career tracks have overlapped.  He is a member of the PGA and the general manager of a golf resort. I can't swing a club to save my life.  He successfully oversees a large staff; I manage to keep track of just little old me on a daily basis and despise the times when I've had to oversee employees.

However, I have served as the director of marketing for large organizations and yet he is the one with a marketing degree.

When we were growing up, we couldn't have predicted that talking about business ventures and websites and career decisions is what would hold our friendship and relationship together over the years. But I give us both lots of credit for finding something to talk about and converse about that transcends the miles between us.  Over the years, without fail, my quiet, reserved brother has been my biggest and loudest cheerleader. I hope he knows that I am always in his corner, as well.

I am so proud of him. And every day I hope he is proud of me.

Our doorsteps will get a lot closer next week. He is bringing his family home to Michigan for a good old fashioned July 4 visit. I can't wait to see him because when I look at his eyes, or the faces of his children, it is then that our differences fall by the wayside and all I can see is how much we are alike.


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