On Ben

I wrote a little about my brother (in law) Ben when I last wrote about my sister Diana, but I wanted to write just a line or two more.

Ben is a great guy, as all my brothers (in law) are, but Ben’s also an extremely good man. Without getting into any of the particulars, most of which I know I don’t have anyway, Ben acts as a significant stabilizer for his family at some personal cost. This is a family that has had some share of real tragedy, which to be perfectly honest our family has not.

It’s easy to talk about how you can get through tough things as a family, things like a lengthy debilitating illness or the death of a child, but serious people – my family is composed entirely of serious people – know that the reality is likely to be somewhat different than the theory. We hope that when such thing happens we will act as we believe we will act. For my part, though, I’m happy to know that there is someone around that has actually done really tough things that I can lean on for help when the time comes. If the time comes, I guess.

Ben’s been there, and he knows what it’s like. I am very grateful that he married my sister. Our family needs him.

Happy Birthday, brother.

Somewhat apropos of this, in the discussions my sisters have on MySpace, it’s extremely interesting to see the breadth of experience they can bring to bear on the stuff they discuss. It’s almost impossible to think of a topic they might bring up that nobody has any direct experience with. Potty training? Please. Movies? This is my family we’re talking about. Astrophysics? Catherine can bring in Scott anytime.

It’s an incredible community, my sisters. One of the greatest benefits of having a large family is this breadth of personality and experience to draw on when things get tough. In our family, as likely in many other families, the in-laws are every bit as much a part of the community as the blood sisters. Heaven knows the guys are all that way, but then we’re guys, and our “community” consists of watching US Soccer and Jazz games. Come one come all, you know?

But how much I admire my sisters! I’ve been privileged to read (and even post on) a lengthy discussion on the MySpace, and I’m quite honestly in awe of these incredible women. It’s hard to remember that I’m related to them. It’s even harder to remember that I’m older than they are.

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