"you should learn to get along with you brother, some day he will be your best friend", this was what my amma told me when i was younger and in a huff because he had done something to aggravate me. obviously she was old and therefore out of touch with reality of what a little stinker he was.
somewhere there has been an unoticeable change, not dissimilar to the day you suddenly have an armpit full of hair, but there was never a mid way point so the observable reality is always a bit of a shock. perhaps my first midway point was when he got his private pilot's license and we rented a little cessna, think: baked bean tin with wings. i sat in the right hand seat, listening to the foreign language of aviation through my big headphones, staring at knobs, dials and flashing lights, pushing my control issues to the limits as he pushed on the throttle. all i could think about was the kid who i had spent countless breakfasts arguing over who used the milk last was now suddenly in charge of my mortality.
as you get older hopefully the relationships with each family member grows too (although i do believe that my mother and i will be the exception). somewhere along the line james has crossed over into "grown up", he has become wise, thoughtful and understanding. he recently told me that he has to be able to make good decisions quickly as he has a plane full of passengers to think about. reassuringly (?) his farts are as toxic as they ever were, and i took much comfort in a family "jackass" moment at xmas when he coaxed their big german shepherd, holly, into bed with dad, we took pictures and giggled like school children; dad slept through it all. my grandmother was pretty smart after all, but then she was one of nine children, so i imagine they used to fight over who milked the cow last in the middle of a cold, icelandic winter.