Growing up one of my favorite shows was Road to Avonlea. It was on cable, which meant that watching it was a rarity in my house. We only got cable during special promotional times when the neighborhood got it for free. I remember asking for those channels and hoping that the free promotions would come back because I was convinced that I was Felicity King. I was the oldest child, I had a younger brother that annoyed me to death, and I was always right. It was meant to be. I'm convinced that I asked my mom to get my hair permed when I was about five for the sole purpose of looking like Felicity.
Of course I completely missed the part of the show where they let you know that Felicity is a jerk. I remember one episode, for example, where the parents leave overnight for an anniversary trip leaving the 13 year old Felicity in charge of her siblings and cousins. Whoops. While the rest of the world felt bad for poor Felix and his nasty sister who made him do chores when he wanted to fish, I sympathized with Felicity for having a brother that was hard to punish because he always looked so dang pleased with himself.
So when the younger of my two brothers was born, I was determined to "train him up in the way he should go" by indoctrinating him with a love of sarcasm, British humor, and a healthy dose of cultural sophistication/snobbery.
I lucked out on siblings. Andy (the Felix in my life) and I learned to get along as we got older (and I moved out of the house). Although he still claims that I "made" him watch Avonlea related media (you could have left the room!) we get along great now. Jared and I are great friends and always have been. I don't remember ever arguing with Jared. (Minus, I suppose, the time when I determined that I wanted my own room and pushed him, in his crib, out the door. Or as out the door as I could. It got stuck. Whoops.)
Yesterday, Jared got a mission call. In my church, boys and girls have the opportunity to go out into the world and serve their fellow men. Only they don't get to choose where they go. Most people find out via. letter from the presidency of the church. Families and friends gather around in the living room or Skype from long distances, people post videos of their call-opening on the internet - it's a pretty big deal. But in true quirky Jared fashion, things didn't go quite as planned. His call was accidentally sent to a girl's apartment and then lost. Desperate to get his call, he contacted the mission office and was, after a series of strange events, emailed his assignment. So instead of gathering around the fireplace with video cameras, my family called in from the most random places you can think of. Dad was at work. Mom was in the office at school surrounded by her co-workers. Alli was pulled out of class to go to the office of her school and surrounded by a different set of secretaries. I was holed away in the office next to my classroom. Andy was, of all places, locked out of his apartment. And Jared, best of all, was sitting in one of the buildings at BYU by a vending machine and random people that had no idea he was about to open an email that would change his life.
I love when the universe throws comedic irony into otherwise important moments of our lives.
So very calmly, without pomp or circumstance or tears my family gathered around a phone fireplace to hear that Jared was going to Brazil, like he'd hoped for. We were happy. And then we hung up and went about the rest of our day.
Sometimes I wish that I had sisters closer to my age. Poor Alli is so much younger than I am that neither of us really knows what it is to grow up with girls around. But even though growing up with brothers brought arguing and being dragged to t-ball and scouting events and other unholy smelling things, I am glad that I have the brothers I do. For the patience they teach me, for the men they've become, and for knowing that they've always got my back.
(Seriously, though. They still tackle me.)