As I sit to write this, I hear my brother singing, “What would you think if I sang out of tune, would you stand up and walk out on me? Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song, and I’ll try not to sing out of key…” He is very musically inclined, a gift I wish he would practice and use more often. A gift I later found seemed to be genetic. On this day, the phrases ‘so big,’ and ‘so small,’ resonate with me.
We found out today that his biological mother passed away. So big.
I have to express my sadness about it, even though I really didn’t know her it all. So small.
I met her on several occasions as a young child while she was carrying my soon-to-be brother. I remember vaguely rattling on about names for the baby and things of that nature on our way to taking her to doctor appointments. I couldn’t have picked her out of a lineup years later, but I remembered her red hair. As history, my brother’s biological mom and our mom went to beauty school together. So Small. They became friends, and when she got pregnant with my brother, asked our mom if she wanted to adopt him. SO BIG.
My brother was a happy kid. Reminiscing brings the memory of that often practiced game of ‘Sooo Big!’ He loved that. Despite our non-familial appearances – he’s blonde and I’m the darkest brown, he’s fair-skinned and I’m tan, he has blue eyes and mine are so dark you can’t see my pupils right away, he’s tall and I am not – we were brother and sister, and that was that. These differences that scream adoption were and are So Small. We endured the questions, and, Lord help us, people thinking we were dating.
As a teenager, I met her once more after a long time of my brother asking to meet her. So Big.
That was a difficult time period for everyone, him, me, my parents. But a dinner was planned. They were almost identical in facial features. I don’t remember much about that dinner at The Olive Garden, just that she asked to be reminded of when his birthday was… I like to think that she did it for our mom, that she was trying to put an end to any turmoil he was experiencing, that she was making a point about the situation. Small act, Big impact?
Even though I didn’t know her well, I know she was a good person. And she blessed my family in such a way that we could never repay. She gave us a gift that would not have been possible without her selflessness. My brother is a good-natured, goofy kid. He would do anything for me, for anyone. I can’t imagine my life without him. So Big.
My brother’s mom always has been and always will be a part of our family, no matter what, because blood is blood and love is love. We could not be without either. Their bloodline makes them family, and our adoptions make them my family. My brother has other biological relatives that I do know – siblings, grandparents, aunts, cousins… I hurt with them today as they mourn this loss because they are my family, too, because family runs deeper than genes.
Some things that may seem So Big, like blood, end up being So Small when it comes to something as Big as family. And life seems So Small when you lose a loved one, the void So Big and the loss so much. But the So Small connection I have to my brother’s mother is So Big in the grand scheme of this life the Lord has blessed us to live. And only God and only love can make Big things out of Small things.