The Men in My Life

Three years ago this past weekend, my father passed away.

My brother and my father at our twin’s Baptism in 1992.

I reflected on this as I thought about the two men in my life – my dear sweet hubby and my brother.

In the three years since my father has died, we have seen many changes with my brother.  He enlisted in the Navy right out of high school and lived far away from family for many years.  Once he left our home town, he kept his personal life very private.  When he finally moved back to our home town, we would see him more often, but he still kept his personal life very separate from his relationship with us.

He was just shy of 47 in 2008 when my father died.  Up to that time, I had NEVER seen him with a woman.  I never knew him to have a girlfriend, and I had never met any woman that he had dated.

My father, on the other hand, was quite a womanizer.  He bragged about his conquests – even to his own children.  To listen to him, his sexual prowess was one for the record books.

So, the fact that my brother never brought any women around shouldn’t have been a surprise to me since they would have come under great scrutiny by my father.  He would have examined not only their backgrounds and personalities, but every physical attribute.  In excruciating detail.

So, my brother was probably not only protecting himself by not bringing women around, but probably also protecting the women.

Since my father’s death three years ago, my brother is a different man.  Well, maybe he’s not really different.  Maybe he’s just willing, now, to be the man he has always been anyway.

So, this man, who as a young boy, used to talk about his desire to grow up and get married, finally did.  Yes, just shy of his 50th birthday, my brother got married for the first time.  And he did it his way.  Quietly and privately.

My brother and his bride celebrated by watching The St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series, and then by going deer hunting for the weekend.

This past weekend, we got to see the newly married couple.

My brother couldn’t wait to show off the wedding bands!

He could not stop smiling.

He has a lovely new family.

I am so happy for them that I get teary eyed just thinking about it.

Life with my father was difficult.  Our relationships with him were complex.

As I watched my brother, I was reminded of my father.  My brother looks so much like him, and I caught glimpses of my father’s mannerisms and gestures while he talked.

But, there is a big difference.  My father was never a happy man.  When I watch my brother now, I see a supremely happy man.  My brother’s relationship with his new wife is one of partnership.  They are soul mates.  My father’s relationship with women was more chauvinistic and paternalistic.

My brother and I may not see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, but we love and care for one another and for one another’s families, and we love to spend time together.

He’s an important man in my life.  Along with my dear sweet hubby.

The two men in my life.

Congratulations and Best Wishes to my brother and his new wife.  We love you!

Special note – Today is my new sister-in-law’s 40th birthday!  Yes, my brother robbed the cradle.  Happy Birthday, Sanela!

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