Brothers are funny creatures. Especially big brothers. In my experience big brothers fart on your head, make fun of you in front of your friends and blame you for their wrongdoings in front of your parents.
Then you grow up. Since the ages of 17 and 18 my brother and I have lived apart and actually have only spent about 4 years since in the same country. We're now 33 and 34 and other than my parents he remains the one constant in my life since birth. He is the the one I shared my secrets, my childhood with and in many ways, knows me better than any other. We have a bond that I'll have with no other for as long as I shall live.
What I love most about my brother is how, though we see each other barely 3 times a year he never changes. As though no time has passed, we revert to teenagers, making up songs and laughing at our poor Dad's expense as yet another practical joke is played on him, followed by much eye-rolling from the rest of the family.
He got married this weekend. Sometimes, especially when someone's always been there, we don't stop to think what it is that makes them special. What I guess I've always known and loved about my brother was apparent in the best man's speech. Far from regaling the guests with drunken escapades and tales of girlfriends past, one of my brother's best men gave a heartfelt speech on a true friendship they've shared since becoming roommates at uni years ago.
One of his lines was that nobody has a bad word to say about my brother. I've never thought about it before this week but it's totally true. He has time for anyone, will do anything for anybody and has a pure heart which sees only the good in people. He's the best friend you could ask for, an amazing Dad and now, a husband who I know will look after his wife as he's looked after us in his own unique way all these years.
His own speech further confirmed this. His new wife is Spanish and he took the time to deliver his speech half in English (as James) and half in Spanish as Sombrero James complete with 'traditional dress' (his words) of a giant hat (they took the sarcasm in good humour, thankfully). He spoke about how each person in your life touches you in a way and shapes you into the person you are today and thanked my parents and myself for each of our roles in making him him.
He and his wife have never said 'I love you' to each other. As he says, you demonstrate your love for a person through actions not words and as such they feel what they do for each other is more significant than those words which are all to easily uttered. He went on to make one final statement which was to have the male guests line up and place all manner of ridiculous paraphernalia upon his new bride, each with a special meaning, a little but of their history, to the soundtrack of 'Baby I Love You' by the Ramones. The single most touching moment of the day.
There were many tears shed that day. Most of joy, some of sadness for those lost who couldn't be there but in my case, of pride. I love my brother, was proud to stand by his side, proud to be his sister and privileged to have shared my life with him. He is without doubt the coolest person I know. Besides, who else would walk down the aisle to the ET theme and take their first dance to 'Earth Angel' from Back to the Future?