We rarely get a visit from family here- I mean from my siblings or my husband's siblings. Even my sister who lives 10 minutes away never visits-too busy she works, no living kids. Everyone else either lives out of state or 4-5 hours away. So when my brother calls and says he and his family will be stopping by on their way home from south of here, I get excited.
John is 50 now. He's my baby brother-the one I always had on my lap in the back seat of our gray Olds station wagon when we were growing up. We didn't have seat belts back then. I did a lot of carrying John around when I was a kid. I was ten years older than he. I was the oldest, and he was the youngest of five kids. I was often in charge of him, and I loved it.
John's only child, Conner, looks exactly like his dad did at the age of 10. Takes me back. My husband hasn't seen them in years, and when he came in he was mentally taken back to 1967 when we started dating and would occasionally pick me up at home. John would have been ten then, too.
When John and his family stops by, it's always on the way home from somewhere, and usually for not more than an hour. I don't think he and his wife are comfortable around lots of kids, especially special needs kids that have been adopted. That's OK. I am not looking for family approval, and John has never said anything that would indicate he disproved. I just think all my kids make them uncomfortable.
Nonetheless, I love my baby brother. We email frequently and sometimes he even calls me. He and I have the same spiritual beliefs, something I can't say about the rest of the family. Actually, John is the only relative I have that shares my spiritual beliefs.
John has a bad heart. It's enlarged, and doesn't keep a good rhythm, so he has a pacemaker and one of those shocker devices to start his heart if needed. We almost lost him in May of this year. He had a heart attack, and if not for the shocker he would have not made it to the hospital. Crazy guy drove himself, getting shocked like 8 times on the way. He says that it's not just a mild shock. It's like a major blow, something that even makes him scream it's so powerful.
So he ended up having triple bypass surgery. If his heart continues to weaken he will be on the transplant list. I hate to see him suffer.
But we're all getting old. It's tough getting used to that. Our parents are gone, and some of our older cousins have died. All of our aunts and uncles are dead, too. We ARE the older generation of my family. I've had to come to terms with that.
John just wants to live long enough to see his son Conner graduate high school and start on his journey of becoming a man. I pray that he can do that-because I'd surely miss him and partly because I'm pretty sure we'll never see Conner again once John is gone.