My brother and I enjoy a very unique relationship. We live only 20-ish miles apart, yet we don't call or visit as often as you would think. He has an insanely busy life, and combined with the insane chaos that is mine, there is just an unspoken, unvisited connection between us. I treasure that. We have both seen some dark days marriage-wise, and while I have remained unmarried, he is now happily married to a gal with children and grandchildren of her own, which adds to the busyness of his life. But the cool thing is, no matter what is going on, we both know the other one is "there" at a moment's notice. He keeps up with me by reading my blog (Hey Michael!) and I keep up with him through bits and pieces on his web page, or through our mom.
This Christmas Eve, as we gathered at home for our traditional celebration, he handed to me a piece of paper and an envelope. It was a letter to me. In it, he shared about a dream that he had as a very young man to own a particular set of drums- not just any set of drums, but the Holy Grail Of Drums for him. Of course, it was financially impossible, but he never gave up on his dream. Sometimes life has other plans for us, and for a long time he didn't play at all. Twenty years later, he helped form a band called Departure, a Journey tribute band. They are doing very well and stay booked on a regular basis. Once again he thought about that set of drums and decided to save his gig money in order to acquire his dream set. This time, however, he decided that he would build his own- just the way he wanted them, custom-made to his specifications. He saved for over a year, and one day the time was right, and he took the money, purchased the finest of materials and painstakingly crafted them with love and attention to the finest of detail. In his own words, "It is a drum set fit for the most discriminating musician, and one beyond my wildest dreams of ever owning." How thrilling! I was so excited by reading his letter, and so happy that he is now living his dream. I know that the drums he has built would rival any Stradivarius violin or Steinway piano in their perfection.
However, as I read further, the tone of the letter changed. He shared with me that building his own drums, even with using the most exotic wood destined for Lear Jet, and solid oak boards, etc., actually was less expensive than buying them from a factory. There was still a good bit of money left in his envelope. Now let me tell you what he did. And I quote: "Please accept this gift from me to you, for there is no one more deserving. Do with it as you will. I hope that it will bring as much joy and happiness to you as it does me to give it, and that it may allow you to realize some goal or desire that you, too, have carried around silently for years. It is a wonderful feeling and I want to share it."
My precious baby brother presented an envelope to me that contained his left-over dream money. How amazing is that? By the time I was finished reading the letter, I was in tears. It would not have mattered to me if there was only a single dollar bill inside that envelope. But there was ever so much more than that. Inside the envelope was hope. The letter and the envelope have commanded my thoughts to even dare to dream. The saddest thing, I think, was that I told him I'm not even sure I have a dream any more. Of course I do, but responsibilities and reality dictate that my dream of having a place (and the time) to be creative are always at the very bottom of my list of things I must do. I love to write. I love to make things to give to other people. I love to preserve memories. I love creating things.
Now, here I am starting a work schedule that is going to allow free time that I haven't had for so many years. My carport-enclosure project is to begin in a week or so. Michael's dream money comes at the most perfect time ever, and while I may not purchase an actual "dream item" with it, (more likely a commode and some carpet!) it will further my cause for a dream "studio" without going into more debt. For right now the room will be used as my office and bedroom, but when Whitney and her family move, it will be the most perfect place for me to write, create, glue, and cut to my heart's content. And it will be large enough to invite my friends over to create with me. Though I told him I wasn't sure that I even had a dream, in thinking about it, I can tell you that I do. I have spent hundreds of hours dreaming of a place- a nook- a room- a studio- in which to create. Perhaps a selfish dream- not one of saving the world or any comparable feat, but a dream nonetheless, because it always seemed such an impossibility. Thanks to my parents, who are loaning me the money for the carport project- (not because I want a play room, but because my house is simply not large enough for three adults and two babies) and now to my brother, who has provided the final resources needed to complete the project without maxing out my Lowe's card!!
Michael, when the kids move out and I'm able to put my house back in order, you have a standing invitation to bring those drums over here and play me some music, while I write my short stories, or create memory art. I love you very much, my wonderful, thoughtful, generous baby brother!! And I promise to never stop dreaming, ever again. xoxo Love, Cat (your sister)