My mother, who was one of five children, once told me that her brothers did not treat her as anything other than their older sister until she had children of her own.
After years of chasing her on the beach with horseshoe crabs, listening in on her conversations with friends, and making her life one big headache, her two brothers finally began to see her as a real person when she became someone's mother. Suddenly they were eager to lend a hand, consider her feelings, and value her opinions. It was a transference of roles and a transformation of identities.
As the little annoying sister of two older brothers, I could never imagine serving any higher purpose than tormenting my own brothers. I'd tag along, I'd rat them out, and I would wait all day by the phone in the hopes of intercepting a call from a girl.
Flashforward two decades and two children, I am still my brothers' sister and I only occasionally have the opportunity to torment them. Part geography and part maturity, it isn't so much that I have changed tremendously in their eyes, as they have in mine.
As I struggle to manage my family and find my way through the every changing scape of Parentland, I now look to my brothers, fathers of four and three children respectively, as models of what to do.
These two people with whom I spent hours of my life wrestling for territory in the back seat of our cramped cars are now their children's greatest coaches, biggest fans, strongest advocates, and most loving guides.
I realize that this tribute is tending to paint them with perfection; but, of course they are not. They both have one inherent flaw that I simply cannot forgive despite all else.
They live entirely too far away.
Happy Father's Day to the fathers of seven of the luckiest kids I know.