I always hesitate to say I'm proud of somebody because I always feel like it indicates that I had something to do with their successes, which is rarely, if ever, the case.
A little while ago, through the generosity of my mother, stepfather, my brother, Jason, and my sister-in-law, I was able to take a trip back east to visit them. It was the first time I had seen my brother's family in a long time. My nieces and nephew are just as adorable as can be, even the 21 year old niece who was there with her husband, although I should come up with a better word than adorable for her.
Ummm, when did I become old enough to have a 21 year old niece who is married? I guess the lie that I've been telling myself that the grey in my beard is premature is over. Yep, the jig is up.
One of the things that I do is watch people. A good portion of my ability to observe comes from my training as an actor, but most of it comes from a fascination about people.
Seeing my brother with his son and daughter was a sacred experience for me. He's caring, on the tough side, what I call his "gunny sergeant" persona, not afraid to hold them, tell them to behave, and to teach them, and I get the feeling that he'd do anything for them.
All of this has led me to my past observations of my other brother as well as my sister.
Patrick, my youngest brother, has some amazing kids, and is a kind, loving man, who takes takes no shit from anybody. He's smart, with a great booming laugh, great with his hands, and is doing his best to make sure that his kids are raised right. All you have to do is spend a little time with them, and you can see that he's being amazingly successful. I'm so excited to hear about their lives as they approach the end of their high school years and into college, family-life and careeers. Patrick's got a heart as big as the world, but has no problems setting boundaries, something I aspire to a lot.
Denise, the sister. What a loving human being. She drove an hour and a half both ways to take me to the hospital for a biopsy recently, but she did it with her normal humor and certainly didn't have to. She's also tough. I've always thought that you might get through the men in our family, although that's doubtful, but don't mess with the women, because they'll kick your ass, and make sure it's done correctly. She has a great son that she idolizes and is turning out just great. She's a great mom.
The only word I can come up with, besides the obvious "L" word, is that I'm proud of them. Smart, caring, loving, funny, salt-of-the-earth kinda folks, who will have your back if you need it.
As kids we fought, laughed, got annoyed and did all the things that siblings did. I was the oldest, and it was just recently that I realized how much my brothers and sister stood up for me without me knowing. They are braver than I am in many, many ways. It took me a long time to find my inner-strength. They came into it much quicker, and much more comfortably.
There are few people in the world that can compare with my brothers and my sister. Some of the finest people that I know, or will ever know.
And, while I had nothing to do with it, I'm proud of them and how they are living their lives, even when those lives are difficult, and how they are providing for the next generation.