My mom always called us her twins, even though we aren't.
But still, we are the closest in age out of the family, were always close to the same height growing up, and have the same brown eyes, though his are darker like our Italian mom's while mine are more like our pop's British side of things.
We were always going through the same stage of life. Running away from the surf together at the beach, terrified that a wave would jump out at us and swallow us whole. Taking turns on our pop's back as we fought those waves together, putting on a brave face even when the truth was evident in our vise-like grip around our pop's poor neck.
Same Sunday school class; and later, the same youth group.
Same engulfing fear of the night, leading us to sleep in each other's rooms, respectively, long after all our friends were sleeping soundly in their own beds.
Tentatively starting to date, but um, he dated girls and I dated boys and all the while we were wondering when that oh-so-elusive one would show up.
We were even both in The Nutcracker Suite one year, though I have a strong suspicion that he was in it for the girls whereas I actually was in it for the ballet.
We spent so much time together, see, that people sensed that there was something between us. The thing is, they didn't always get exactly what that something was.
Like when we both did a mission's trip with Youth With A Mission, as teenagers. He had gotten his leg all scraped up in a soccer accident, his wound was infected and his body was feverish. Because of that, he had to just stay in the men's ward for a few days. Not allowed to go out, not allowed to do much of anything, though he wasn't up to it anyway, I imagine.
So I would take my breaks and go visit him.
Talk to him.
Make sure he had what he needed.
Most of the time it would be just the two of us, since everyone else was busy serving the world.
Finally one of our leaders approached me and with kindness in his voice told me that he didn't think my behavior was appropriate.
What do you mean? I asked, secretly shocked since I had made a career out of avoiding inappropriate behavior thus far.
It's not right, he explained, the two of you spending so much time alone with nobody around to chaperone.
And then it dawned on me.
And then his insinuation made me throw up a little in my mouth.
But, I said, he's my brother.
And that was that. The leader was embarrassed for assuming we were up to no good and I was given cart blanche visits to the men's ward.
Because he is my brother.
And I am so glad he is.
Happy birthday, Jonathan.