This photo of my brother and his playmate was taken at Easter time 45 years ago. Seems like yesterday. He called last night and e-mailed me pictures of his own son, who's growing faster than I can believe, and it was so good to talk with him for a few minutes.
I was 15 when he was born, not a happy teen, and he brought joy to our household. The one thing all of us had in common was our love of that baby boy.
When I was 18, days after my brother turned three years old, I married and moved out of town. I had grown up in a home with no father, but with grandparents who made it a peaceful, happy place to live, and I wanted that kind of loving environment for him. For years and years, I felt guilty about abandoning that small boy to parents whose machine-gun bickering nearly drove me insane.
I was in my 50s before I realized that the bickering was simply a communication style that my mother and stepfather somehow fell into early on, not a measure of their love for one another. They were married almost 39 years, until my stepfather's death, and I didn't understand until after he was gone how much my mother had loved him.
My brother, you'll be pleased to know, seems to have turned out just fine. We've lived in different states for the past 35 years, so I don't see him often, but each time I do see him or talk to him, I'm struck by his intelligence and his sense of humor. He has a terrific wife, and their son brings them the same kind of joy that my baby brother brought to us.
To them, to my wonderful sister and her family in Texas, to my California siblings and their lovely mom, to the long-lost family members I've recently found again, and especially to my daughters, my son-in-law and my grandchildren--in fact, to all of you who read this--I wish you all the love, beauty, and happiness that are held in the promise of Springtime.