My Big Brother

This evening we celebrated my sister-in-law’s husband’s birthday. He’s a loving husband, a doting father, and a devoting son. He is like a big brother to me. He taught me how to fix things around the house and he has all the tools I ever needed.

Although we have completely different personalities, we get along well most of the time. He is more reserved. Even with my emotional outbursts, we only had a few conflicts. For the most part, we’re on good terms. And if I am being completely honest, we’re not tied together by choice. We are married into the same family; therefore, we have to work together for the sake of our wives and our kids.

As a son, he is an epitome of filial piety. I had always respected him for his meticulous care for his mother. When my mother died, I had even greater admiration for him. If I took my mother in and took care of her, she might have dodged COVID. I asked her time and time again if she would consider moving in with us, but she refused. She finally said something that broke me and I never brought up the topic again.

I blame no one but my own failure. Not that I didn’t have the opportunity to pull her away, I failed to seize the opportunity. I failed to ignore her protests. I failed to see that COVID could knock on her door. While I was being extremely cautious, I failed to see that she could be exposed. By the time I found out about her symptoms, I knew it was too late. I failed her.

Tonight when witnessing the happiness on the mother’s face celebrating her son’s birthday, I jokingly asked, “What did you get your son for his birthday?” She smiled and replied, “I didn’t get a chance to go out.” She didn’t have to go anywhere. Her presence is his greatest present.

Happy birthday, big brother!