By Vernalee (As told by my daughter)
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About 15 years ago, my brother started seriously dating this girl. She was with him incessantly, 24 / 7. They became as “thick as thieves.” In hindsight, I believe that I was jealous. Being that he was 8 years older than me; I was always his little girl. Now, this intruder was in our midst. I always boasted to my friends that I had two Daddies, my biological Father and my big Brother!

A big brother has its pros and cons. I am glad that my Mother only had two children; one of each gender. I probably would have been miserable with an older sister. Although my brother regularly got on my nerves, we were not in each other’s space. He and I share so many wonderful childhood memories. One of my fondest was my 12th birthday hotel party. I begged and conned my Mother to go home and rest her weary soul so that my 20 year old brother and his best guy friend could chaperone my six girlfriends and me. Mommy bought my trickery. The minute she walked out, I shouted, “Let’s get the party started!” My brother let us pillow fight, go the mall, eat at McDonald’s and stay up all night. He was not “stiff” like Mommy or a disciplinarian. We had freedom! Sorry Mommy!

It was around that time that he met his true love. She was shorter, but the
same size as me. That became a problem once they got “tight,” because she could wear my clothes. After she and my brother became an item, she wanted to carry my purses and stuff. A few times, she did not seek my permission. Taking up all of my brother’s time and wearing my clothes, it was too much! What was she trying to do? I just wanted to scream and I did! It wasn’t long before she and I began to argue like cats and dogs.

For the first time, my immature brother acted like a grown up. Go figure! He called a meeting. I will never forget it because I was shocked at how he exercised control. “You both are my girls; love you both; but you got to get along.” Did those words come out of his mouth? Surprisingly, they did. Had I not been an eyewitness to his testimony, I would have not believed that he had a Confucius bone in his body. He didn’t take sides, but demanded that she and I get it together. Unbelievable!

Then my only nephew, my heart, the apple of my eye, my King was born! My brother’s girlfriend suddenly became my sister. Miracles do happen! She was forgiven for all of her previous transgressions. Babies do that. Years later, despite their regrettable breakup, we have maintained a sisterly closeness. We had an eternal bond – her son, my adorable nephew!

Now, she is engaged. I was one of the first people to which she sent a photo of her ring. She was getting married. I was happy for her; ecstatic in fact. Then a bittersweet moment entered my presence. Strangely, I secretly wanted her and my brother to magically reunite. This time, it was a miracle that wouldn’t happen and I knew that, but I can dream the impossible; it eased my mind.
Next, unprepared, I heard her “stop me cold in my tracks” request, “I want you to be a bridesmaid.” As I always do, I immediately called Mommy Dearest. “What should I do? I love her, but I can’t be disloyal to my brother. I can’t make him feel uncomfortable.” “Talk to him. Get your Grannies’ opinion,” were my initial words. As for me, I am happy if she is happy. I consider her a surrogate daughter and love her dearly. I want the best for her and my Grandson. Children fare better with happy parents, particularly their Mother.

Sometimes, you have to make difficult choices. Sometimes, you have to make unpopular decisions. At all times, you must follow your heart and ask God to order your steps. I believe in the unity of family. I later provided this advice to my daughter, “Talk to your brother. Consider his thoughts and feelings. At the end of the day, the same blood runs through your and his veins. Remember that! Through thick and thin, you will always be sister and brother. Do the right thing that will keep you and him in love with each other! The bride will understand and respect your decision that you have to live with.”

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