The Wind, the Willows and Snow

Do you have brothers or sisters? Well, I have four brothers (two are step and I don't see them much), but its a queer thing to leave for school and realize that you've missed out on whole chunks of their lives. 

Since they're brothers (and teenagers), communication is pretty much nill, but they've come around recently and we're discovering this new way of relating to each other - as friends, as brothers and sister but as individuals, people with lives, intelligent thoughts (sometimes), emotions, hurts, and dreams (so weird).  Its not about who gets the remote anymore or letting mom solve all our disputes.  We try to work it out ourselves.  Don't get me wrong, our personal irritations against each other surface, but we usually correct each other - "that wasn't very fair" "hey, leave him alone, its not a big deal" "lets just get along".

Connor was too young for this picture

We're growing up - Hunter is 18, a senior in high school and off to engineering school in South Dakota, and Connor is 14, so funny and so stubborn, he's only mildly interested in what we're up to, leave him to the video games and he's fine.  I was the first one to leave the house so when the unifying effect of living under the same roof and sharing a common childhood loses its power, what will bind us together? Memories? As our lives naturally separate, is a shared parent all we have left as proof of our relationship? What I'm trying to say is that I love my brothers, and that love didn't end when I left for college. 

But its different, we're not kids anymore, we have to know each other in ways that are deeper, similar to the manner in which we relate to our best friends - that is, if we choose it. And I think we have.

This past weekend our parents when to a deer show (we also have weird parents) in Iowa leaving the three of us (Hunter, Connor, and I) to the monotony of satelite tv and reheated pizza.  Well, to those who've never had a weekend without the 'rents its a perfect heaven, but the boys and I have done it enough times to seek a more interesting and fulfilling weekend.  So, we took the forty dollars mom left us and went to the remodeled grocery store to find real food - pancake mix, chicken cordon bleu (family tradition), fruit for everyone (Connor chose a lemon, we don't get him), and raspberry soda.  And we did it all on our own, no mom (though we love her), and minimal quarreling. 

So we had our pancake dinner, watched a movie together, waited for Hunter to finish work the next morning and took the remaining seven dollars to the nearby state park and spent the afternoon climbing a frozen waterfall.

Willow River State Park

(Obviously this picture was taken in the summer, but my phone pictures wouldn't upload)

To my great relief, we had a great time, proof that we do really love one another, and even if we didn't it was clear that it would take a very large wedge to come between us.  I learned that we all love to explore (even if I can't quite keep up with them), we all like being out of doors and are curious about nature. Connor is absolutely hilarious and Hunter tells good stories.  They are both so smart. We all share a love of classical music (to the dismay of my roommate, who understandably tires of its constant presence during long car rides).  We also like to throw snowballs and roll the windows down but keep the foot heater on (I KNEW I wasn't the only one who did that).  They love their gameboys while I read my books, but we all have a secret love affair with good children's literature series like Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia.

But what matters to me most of all: "I love you Hunter, I love you Connor" - "I love you too"