Chris comes home from school around noon, and he makes himself lunch, and he turns on Royal Pains. Usually my mother-in-love is home, and this is their thing: they eat lunch & watch Netflix. Except for the other day when I was the only person home, and I was watching Gilmore Girls. I heard the truck engine as it pulled into the driveway & grabbed the remote. When he came inside, I asked if he wanted me to change it, and he said it was fine, that I could finish.
Lorelai walked across the screen as Chris sat down with a sandwich & a bag of chips. His chair is in the corner, and honestly, I don’t think anyone else sits there. The episode ended, and I offered to put on something else. But he told me he was fine watching Gilmore Girls because he was into at that point. He laughed with me as Rory cried on the bathroom floor about graduating college.
I have spent two long years misunderstanding this brother of mine, and I hate that I have. At times I thought he was rude & self-centered. Other times I was convinced he didn’t care about anyone or anything other than basketball. I would come away from conversations with him frustrated & fed up. He was stupid & mean & I just didn’t like him. I couldn’t figure out how he & Jed got along so well, because from my point of view, he was just plain terrible.
And then he stayed with us for a month in Guatemala. He was around me twenty-four seven. I cooked for him, washed his clothes, and even made his bed on occasion. I learned that he & I have much more in common than I knew. And as Jed napped one day, Chris & I sat down & watched a movie together. I don’t know what clicked that day, or what made it happen, but I suddenly saw this great young guy that I had only just met. I realized that I liked this kid, that I was so grateful that God had placed him in my life.
I love the life & laughter he brings to every get-together. I love to listen to his perspective on life because it usually makes total sense to me. I love playing cards with him & listening to him strum at the guitar. I love how he always says, Hey Nora, when he comes into the room. I love how he goes on & on about a cake of mine that he likes (even though I don’t remember which one it is). I love how God made him this little ball of laughing energy that no one else can keep up with.
And I didn’t see any of that until I sat & watched TV with him.
I know better than anyone how difficult it is to assimilate oneself into another family, whether you are a friend or an in-law. We can do all of the things, trying to make ourselves fit in & be a part. But sometimes, you just need to sit & be together to figure it all out.