Monday, October 20, 2008

Gabrielle and Helen, Est. 2008

I think it’s impossible not to look on your younger siblings without seeing them forever stuck, like insects in amber, in the time and place of your childhood. You share so much history together, that every time you look at each other, you see the cross currents of so many memories. For the older sibling, time stops exactly when you leave home to strike out on your own. In many ways, you half expect, even years later, that the home you left is merely “on pause” and you can pick up where you left off at any time you please.

It doesn’t matter how old you get. I can tell you, factually, that my sister Gabrielle is nearly 30, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t half expect her to be a teenager each time we get together. I never realized my brother was grown up until he and his wife had a child. Then time surged forward in a gigantic leap, making up for all the lost years, and came properly into focus. (In my defense, equidistant between 30 and 40, I still don’t see myself as an adult either.)

I don’t think I really and truly realized Gabi was a woman until she met Helen. Until I watched them interact. Until I watched the way Gabi’s eyes sparkled when she looked at Helen. Until I saw the way they doted on each other. Until I witnessed how selflessly Gabi went out of her way to ensure Helen was comfortable at all times. Until I observed the way Gabi took every opportunity possible to praise Helen in front of others.

However, it wasn’t just Gabi and Helen’s obvious love for each other that impressed me, it was more so the manner in which they lived their love out. Gabi has had to stand up to so much, to brace herself against so much resistance. And while it was obviously the most painful thing she has ever done, it was also the bravest thing she’s ever done. The serenity and wisdom with which she’s handled these past few years is what revealed to me that she is no longer the little girl I left at home when I went off to college. She has been poised and graceful. She has been confident in her choices, in her love and in herself. She’s never been interested in making political statements, or rubbing anything in anyone’s noses. She was simply interested in sharing with everyone the magnificent love she’d found with and in Helen.

This past weekend, Stephanie and I flew down to San Diego to celebrate Gabi and Helen’s recent marriage. I was honored to represent my family. Helen’s parents and siblings also came down, and we gathered for an informal weekend of sharing memories of the past and dreams for the future.

I love how close Gabi and I have become over the past few years. Our friendship, if one can call it that, is stronger now than it has ever been. She amazes me with her maturity, wisdom, and grace. Gabi, you and Helen will always find in Stephanie and me, whatever support, love and encouragement you need. May your marriage be full of wondrous enchantment, unexpected grace and boundless delights. Stephanie and I look forward to growing older with you and closer to you.

For many more pictures of Gabi and Helen's special weekend, please click HERE and HERE.

And if you like what you see just below (and I know I do!), click HERE.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:25 AM  
Anonymous DC said...

Absolutely beautiful!

9:26 AM  
Anonymous BC said...

thanks for sharing. they look so happy. i hope they have a lifetime of bliss!

11:00 AM  
Blogger Rhonda said...

What a wonderful brother you are! And wise beyond your years - which I've always known.

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Calvin Wulf said...

Brandon, you are an awesome and loving big brother to a very fortunate sister. As for me, I am honored to call you my friend. Yes, courage is standing where you are given to stand no matter what. I'm looking for more courage these days myself quite frankly. This year of 2008 is making me remember the year 1968. Both are turning out to be great years for me. Sometimes this journey takes us full circle. I am so glad that you a so at home with beloved family and friends.
Thanks for your wonderful pictures of love.

12:38 PM  
Anonymous K said...

Beautiful photos – your blog made me cry (not that hard of a task…but still, incredibly touching). You’re very talented Brandon.

Thanks for sharing,


12:49 PM  

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