Julie Kemp Pick
The holidays bring out the best and the worst in families. My brother and I don't necessarily see eye to eye on everything, but he is always the first person to make me laugh when I need it the most. We could be arguing one minute, not talking the next, and yet he'll still come through for me in his own way.
Recently, I asked him a medical question, and within seconds he told me to pull up my yearly test results online. Though he is not a doctor, he spent more time explaining every detail of a routine CBC (complete blood count), than any of my own doctors ever did. For example, if your RBC (red blood count) is low, you may need to add more iron to your diet, but it's important to discuss it with your doctor first. Of course this conversation kept me in my pajamas through lunchtime, but knowledge is fuel for the brain.
Although my brother has battled devastating health issues since childhood, it is with his research on diet and exercise that he has become his own medical miracle. Through it all, my brother never complained and always approached every obstacle with strength and humor. He inspired my boys to start working out at an early age, and they continue to spend quality time together at the gym with my husband.
This brings me to a letter I came across in Ask Amy, an advice column featured in the Chicago Tribune. A woman wrote in about her half-sister who lost contact with her family after an incident with one of her grown children. The icing on the cake was that she "...refused to celebrate birthdays and holidays with us anymore. No gift, no card." Lost in Lauderdale decided to take matters into her own hands when she contacted her half-sister's bosses to let them know, "She has on more than one occasion helped herself to pens and Post-it notes from her workplace."
This was not enough to ease her pain, "I also let the IRS know that she may not have reported all the waitress tips she earned while she worked at a restaurant." Afterward, Lost in Lauderdale was astonished that her family wanted nothing to do with her when her half-sister was clearly the one at fault.
After reading this, I felt quite relieved that I don't have a sister or even daughters. Though I doubt that my daughters would be vicious toward each other. They would probably just repress any ill feelings they had, and take them out on me in my old age. At least, I don't have to worry about my boys behaving that way; that's what their future wives are for.