Monday, May 6, 2013

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?


About 10 years ago I remember telling someone that I was sad that I didn’t really have  relationship with any of my brothers.  I am the oldest in my family.  In the first 4 kids there are 3 girls and only one boy, in the last 6 kids there are 5 boys and only one girl.  That means that when I left home (for college) at 17 1/2, the boys in my family were 14, 11, 11, 9, 5, and 2.

We had very little in common.

It has been interesting to “meet” each of my siblings as they have grown into adulthood, but I’ve never been able to be around them enough to feel like I was really able to get to know them. 


When I made that comment that day, I was pretty sure that was just how things were going to be.  I didn’t really know my brothers, I didn’t live anywhere near any of them, and that’s just the way things were.  The End.

(Have I mentioned before that I am NOT gifted with much perspective or foresight?)

For some reason this popped into my head last summer after our Watson Reunion at Bear Lake.  I had so much fun with my whole family, but especially my brother Jeff.  Since both of us were spouse-less for much of the week, Jeff & I spent quite a bit of time together.  We’ve also spent time with Jeff the last few times we’ve visited Utah during the summer.  Each time I’ve learned more about him—combining the things I already knew about him as a boy with these new things I’m learning about Jeff-the-adult.  It was neat for me to start seeing how much Jeff and I are alike in many ways.  IMG_6494


When we lived in Pocatello my brother Val & his wife lived in Rexburg.  We saw them occasionally, but then they moved to Kentucky which at that point was kind of like at the other end of the world.  When we moved to North Carolina (really the other end of the world) we saw them more, but still not often.  Then we started driving to Utah for summer vacations in 2005, and every year we’d stop and stay for a couple of days either on our way there or on the way back.  My kids always loved seeing their cousins, but I also enjoyed getting a chance to hang out with Val.  He is only 4 years younger than me and we rarely got along when I was a teenager (which had something to do with him calling me a fat cow, I believe) but we really enjoy each other’s company now.  Last summer when we were at their house on our way back from the beach he had planned an outing for us—he took me to an old fashioned (but still operational) grist mill where we bought stone ground grits.  He knew that not only would I be happy to get the grits, but that I would also be entranced by the beauty of the surrounding area.  DSC_0223


On our big vacation across the country the triplets & I stopped and stayed overnight in Houston with my youngest brother, Jeremy.  Jeremy was born when I was 16, and he was only 2 when I left for college and 4 when I got married.  One of our favorite stories from our wedding is when Jeremy told Russ’s parents “Cindy used to be my sister, but now she’s Wusso’s wife!”  Over the past few years we’ve gotten to hang out with Jeremy and his wife Maria every now and then, and we’ve learned that like us, they really love games.  They are really good at finding new games and some of our current favorites have been suggested by them.  Now Jeremy and Maria are living in Utah so I’m happy we’ll be able to spend time with them this summer.  IMG_2807


After my brother Ben moved back to Utah a few years ago (and bought a house with plenty of extra room) we started trying to stay with his family for a day or two every year on our Utah trip.  The boys LOVED this because Ben had dirt bikes and he taught them to ride them.  (In fact this is where Jason practically killed himself being stupid one summer.)  Two years ago while we were in Utah we went up to the National Guard area where Ben works and he showed us the Apache helicopter he flies.  It was really a once in a lifetime kind of experience.  We got to try the flight simulator as well—we all crashed.

June 2011 Utah 139June 2011 Utah 129


I haven’t been able to spend as much time with my brothers Grant and Sam, but last Sunday I got to watch Grant play baseball in the yard with his 2 year old, Liam.  You would NOT believe this child—Grant was pitching the ball from at least 15 feet away and Liam could hit it with a regular bat!  I loved seeing Grant-the-dad—he was just so cute and proud of his little boy.  (And he’s no less proud of his beautiful daughters, they just weren’t there.) 

And Sam was there for me two summers ago when my new van developed brake problems as I was leaving Colorado.  He found a place for me to get my brakes fixed the next day and kept checking to make sure I was ok.  Sam and his wife Emily were in Rexburg when Cindy Lynn was in school there and they were so great to Cindy Lynn.  I’ll always be grateful to him for that. 


I guess what I’m trying to say in all of this is that one day I woke up and “surprise!” I realized that in the last decade I’ve been able to start developing real relationships with my brothers.  My sadness 10 years ago that I didn’t have these relationships has been replaced by an awareness that to some degree, relationships are always in a state of flux.  And since I truly do believe that families are forever, I have a long time to get to know these guys.

July August 2007 pics 079 p


  1. I grew up close with my brother, but we fought INTENSELY, so when we both went away to college, we sort of took a "break" from each other for a while. Then, after I was married and he had lived abroad, we found out we really like each other as adults. Oh, how I PRAY that this will happen to my children!!!

  2. I LOVE THIS!!! This gives me so much hope. I've found it quite difficult to get to know most of my siblings because we are in such different states of life and I, like you, kind of just assumed this would forever be the case (since it's been the case for over a decade). And that made me sad.

    Thanks for reminding me never to give up. :)