Archives for posts with tag: insight

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These blog posts have not directly mentioned faith or our families belief system. When I wrote about young Brooke’s quest for forgiveness, purposefully I did not mention it was God she asked for it. There is no shame in our belief, nor do I deny the faith we have, it is more that this blog is not about debatable topics, or creating gaps between us and the world. The blog is simply to find and share Brooke’s voice.

In order to hold true to purpose, self and Brooke what I’m about to tell must be included. Be warned if you venture to read more of this post it is possible you may be offended, though I’m not asking you to believe or think anything. This is just an offer of how Brooke and now I see things. While Brookelyn and I are quite open minded and respect others beliefs this post is about Brooke’s. If you decide to read on I welcome any views and opinions.

The sound of the shower awakens anyone in the bed that is on the wall in Brooke and mines room that keeps our sleeping space separate from the bathroom. That is exactly why my bed is located where it is, an alarm clock that is minus the bells or chimes that tend to frustrate me. Opening my eyes, the first glimpse of sunlight is peering beneath the window coverings. Brooke’s bed is already empty, sheets neatly tucked, blanket smoothed and single pillow placed on top. Why she makes her bed the moment she steps out of it is as mysterious to me as the manner in which it’s done, pillow always uncovered. Brookelyn’s love for new days beginning is another source of pondering. This response to mornings much like a birds flight of migration, is just natural for the younger sister.

Before I have exited my bed Brooke is in the doorway brushing out hair that still drips, leaving spots on the floor. A white dress covers her delicate frame, showing areas of dampness that she felt no compulsion to completely dry. No matter how many times I talk to her about drying off, like getting up early, Brooke has her way. In this case it is to somewhat drip dry. This is a curious choice, almost at odds with her tidy neatness in most other matters.

In the backseat, with our bellies full of oatmeal, my voice tells Brooke about the cute boy that just joined my class in school. She listens watching the fields of our neighbors pass by as we make our way towards church. Brooke always seems to be at her happiest but a little dreamy on church mornings. It’s the only time she does not carry a tablet and pen. Rarely does she sign anything but mostly she simply smiles in her silence, owning it in a way that is almost honoring the quiet.

Exiting church, the day has warmed and promises afternoon adventures, maybe a horse back ride or something just as exciting. On the way home we stop off, Mom needs an item to complete Sunday dinner, the meal of the week we almost always share with guests. Brooke and I wonder the isles of the market, containing sweets. The new boy from class to my surprise stands at the end of the isle. Blue jeans and a t-shirt cover his athletic frame, the sort that promises he is adept at putting a ball in a hoop or running down a fly in the field. Unlike my nature I offer only a shy wave. My gesture is met with a greeting as he approaches us.

He acts surprised that I have a younger sister and blunders with words when I explain she isn’t being shy or rude but instead that Brooke is mute. I can tell that he is full of questions but then he awkwardly suggests a phrase like, “that’s cool”. Leading to an even greater awkward silence, after all it isn’t really cool. Brokkelyn, use to these encounters changes the subject with a smile and by signing to me that it is in fact cool. I vocally translate the signed words and as kids do in certain moments we genuinely laugh with no need for humor. Our new friend steps back, he is surprised that her laugh is silent as well. In his defense at times even I am startled by this. Quickly I explain she is inaudible, unable to make vocal sounds, adding that it’s not a hearing, mental or social issue.

As comfort enters the encounter he inquires why we are in dresses, the type one may wear to a wedding. My explanation of church leads to a response that I had never imagined.

“Oh, you are those kind of people,” the young man says rolling his eyes.

“What does that mean? Calling us ‘those kind of people’,” I respond with slight contempt in my voice. I’m irritated and in that period of life when I’d fight just as quickly as explain myself.

“Just you believe in the whole God thing, it’s dumb,” he replies.

I’m about to tell him he is dumb and to punch him in the eye when out of nowhere Brooke hugs him and takes my hand leading me towards the exit of the store. She waives over her shoulder with a smile as we exit. Shock has kept me as silent as my sister as we climb in the backseat and wait with Dad for Mom to return.

In the comfort of our home, shock faded and irritation at a max, I tell our parents of the event and rant about the stupid boy, that I’d once crushed on. Mom offers the advice mothers often do, Dad praises Brooke but admits he can’t understand the hug. Brookelyn sits at the small table writing on her yellow tablet. When completed she passes her words to my father who reads them allowed, putting answers to questions that my young mind had yet to even ask.

“I hugged him because I felt sad for him. Not believing in something doesn’t not make it real. Not knowing God would make me sad, so I was worried he was sad and hugs help when you are sad. I didn’t want Sissy to argue with him cause God doesn’t like arguing. Also if you know something to be true you don’t need others to agree with you. You only need others to agree if you aren’t sure and I didn’t want Sissy to not be sure. God loves him and I thought Sissy was going to hit him. I don’t really care about him but God doesn’t like mean things and I didn’t want Sissy to need forgiveness.”

Brooke’s words read, we shared a family moment in her silence before my Dad said, “Well I suppose that sums it all up. If Mom can spare some time from the kitchen I can saddle the horses and we can all enjoy the beautiful day.”

Watching Brooke climb onto the English saddle she insists upon using, it was clear to me that my sisters faith is as unwavering as all her other quirks, like not completely drying off after showers, formal riding saddles for casual rides, beds made crisply with pillows uncovered, interesting somewhat inappropriate headware, and silent Sunday mornings.

-Brooke’s Sister

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I didn’t write a Fathers Day post, because I feel that in sharing Brooke with the world and finding her voice, it will be clearly seen how special our father is to us. We did have a special day for Dad, a day just for him. Brookelyn and I made him breakfast and spent the day with him. This in itself is not rare. What set the day apart from many was us initiating the activities and planning them with the hope he would feel our love. We love him everyday and spend time with him as well, though he often plans and initiates what we do together.

Dads impact on us can be seen in our interests, actions and hopefully our character. There is the fly-fishing Brooke enjoys and of course me playing lacrosse and soccer. What stands out the most as a direct impact from father is hockey.

Brooke smiles at me pulling the familure white and brown jersey over her head. She prefers the one that ties at the neck, the Brown Bears no longer don this style it has been replaced with the model I’m wearing. On toes, my sister bounces down the stair case receiving a glance from Mom, informing her she is in direct violation of indoor speed limits. Brooke’s hair pulled back and tied with a ribbon, matching in color to the rich chocolate of the trim on her jersey. Her pace, perfect coordination of color, disregard for rules of movement in our home and Moms allowance of the misconduct, are telling signs of the importance of AHL hockey in Hershey.

The chill of the air can be seen on Brooke’s flushed cheeks. A beanie now covers most of her hair that had been so neatly tied with the ribbon. A remnant of a snack eaten between second and third period breaks up the white of her jersey. Her eyes are glued to the action on the ice, though tonight the Bears lead by more than a couple goals as the closing seconds tick away. She hasn’t signed or written a word since the first puck drop, like our father she is focused on the game.

Later Brooke will write to me, telling me about the new forward dropping his hands on a break away, telling the goalie where the puck was headed. She will also ask if I noticed the young defender from Ontario, his strength, agility and aggression. All signs according to Brooke that we should enjoy him while we can because he is shortly NHL bound. I read her words smiling, mostly because in my mind they sound as if spoken by our father.

-Brooke’s Sister

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Slamming the door that keeps, the bedroom Brooke and I share, private from the rest of the world and mostly our parents, I shout at the people who love me the most. The words yelled are hateful, mean, the type intended to push others away. Of course my outburst is mostly a cover for the hurt I feel at the moment. That emotion I seldom let others see, and generally cover with a secondary one like anger or rage.

Through the white paint, wood and space my fathers voice comes. Telling me that he understands I am upset but expressing a need to discuss the issue of the hour in which I returned home. As his manner in all things with us girls, he is gentle and kind. Finally in tone that makes my now crying self move closer to the door that separates us, Dad suggests that I get some sleep and we converse over my disregard for curfew in the morning. Fathers hand gently pats the wood of the door jam, not unlike the way I’m certain he did Brooke’s head hours ago when she went off alone to bed. This is the moment I am completely aware, that of course Brookelyn is awake and sitting up, rubbing sleepy eyes, in the bed against the farthest wall. Turning towards her she smiles, ensuring me that a fight with dad has no impact on our relationship.

In the moments that follow I hit what for me is my all time worst behaviors as a human. Something about her sweet gentle smile, sleepy eyes and the knowledge that she does not rebel or create problems for mom and dad, infuriates me. My mind is racing, full of embarrassment for the ridiculous explosion, frustration over having the earliest curfew of all my friends, resentment that I disappoint Dad when Brooke doesn’t, and finally it’s too much, the anger wins out. I’ve often relived this incident but as I write it, fear fills my heart. I was ugly, imagine the spawn of Satan in all the movies containing such character, combine them into one ugly critter. With a heart of stone and rage, I attempt to share my misery. Yet, some are incapable of things like speech, hate, anger and ever being ugly.

“Brooke, don’t just stare at me!” I shout, as she complies laying down and turning toward the wall. She is doing the only thing that comes to mind, the natural response of following what she is told to do.

For reasons I can’t explain, my evil is not out, something inside me still begs to be released. Still in a shout I continue on. “What the fuck is wrong with you? Don’t just always do what people tell you! It’s dumb and makes you a wimp and nobody likes a wimp! That’s why you don’t have hardly any friends because you are lame!” I’m shaking because I’m yelling so loud, I haven’t noticed that Dad has violated our rule of entering our room without knocking. The rare experience of shouting and worst yet the f word in our home, possibly the last time it’s used, warrants concern.

He is standing in the doorway observing only, just making sure I don’t do anything too bad. But I have already gone too far, I’ve already said things I’ll regret, hurt the most beautiful person I’ll ever know. Seeing our father does not calm me but makes it worse, I am certain he is about to get on to me and rescue the daughter he loves the most. Of course I am wrong, he doesn’t have a favorite, he won’t rescue her, no he is just insuring we don’t physically fight, though I am certain Brooke would not fight.

All my built up guilt, pain and “troubles”, explode in a final outburst of extreme rage. “That’s right just lay there, don’t say anything at all. Oh, that’s right, I forget we all should feel sorry for you cause you can’t say anything at all!”

As if knowing what will come next, like a palm reader, Dad sighs, turning to exit closing our bedroom door behind him. With the click of the brass sound of door shutting my tears began falling as I’m filled with guilt and shame. Laying silently, the tremble of crying is evident in my sisters shoulders. They shake as her hands go up to cover her eyes, while I turn off the light and crawl into my bed feeling miserable but deserving of the emotion. Hours pass as I’m consumed by the silence of Brooke crying, out of shame I can’t cry myself, instead I wish myself dead, or for strength to tell her the truth. Just a little courage to stand and say, “Brooke, you are perfect, don’t change or worry about friends or anything.”

The silence of misery is broken by a rustling of blankets, followed by bare feet quietly crossing the floor and then Brooke is beside me in my bed. Her cheek is wet from tears, but feels good against mine. Arms wrapped tightly around me, I finally begin to cry once more. Together holding each other we cry until sleep finally takes us. Of course she didn’t but I like to imagine that she said, “It is okay, I forgive you and love you even when you forget to love yourself.”

As always actions speak louder than words. The morning light does not wake me. Instead it is a gentle kiss from Brooke on my cheek as she gets out of my bed. I apologize, to which I receive a smile and wink, putting the event to rest forever. Well not for me, I still consider it my rock bottom, the event that marks my last real act of high school, teenage rebellion.

-Brooke’s Sister