My brothers fought a lot when they were young. It was play-fighting, with guns and swords and the other toys that were considered gender-appropriate at that time. They no longer fight, and neither owns a gun or a sword.
They teased a lot when they were younger, too, but it was good-natured teasing. It wasn't mean and it certainly wasn't cruel.
I don't know how or why some people become cruel. It's difficult enough to warn children that strangers should not be trusted; it's harder to learn as an adult that the little boy whose desk was next to yours in 1st grade, the one with red hair and freckles and ragged dirty fingernails, was imprisoned for life when he was 17. I don't know why these thoughts came to me or why I'm sharing them, but somehow, they seem important this cold winter morning.
I guess it's because I realize how fortunate I am to have two beautiful daughters, who are kind and talented and love each other. I guess it's because I realize that's enough.
My brother often embarrasses me, but since he's 55 years old, it's senseless to attempt to correct his behavior. It seems as though he goes out of his way to behave in a manner that is socially inappropiate. He tells bad jokes, including some that are off-color. He belches loudly, then laughs.
I love him despite this and truthfully, because I understand the source of his behavior, I love him more. He has trouble reading, because he's dyslexic. The letters on the page are as inscrutable as hieroglyphics.
My former husband is a musician. When he played any instrument, I stopped breathing. His daughters are beautiful, talented beings. One is an athlete; the other's a scholar.
My step-daughter is gay. I hate the term 'step-daughter,' as much as I hate the term 'biological daughter.' I didn't give birth to the older daughter, as I did to the younger one, but I love them equally. They have unique personalities and unique talents. That's what matters to me.
More importantly, they are sisters who adore each other as much as I adore each of them.
Family is important.
Talent is important.
Individuality is paramount.