52 Weeks of Brotherhood, Week 1: The One Where I Don’t Show You the Photos that Match the Story

52 Weeks of Brotherhood, Week 1: The Pool

They adore her.

From the moment we walked in the door, they simply wanted to be by her side.

“Can I sit next to her?” “You sat next to her last time!” “It’s my turn to sit next to her.”

I would round the corner into the game room and find them sitting on either side of her as they played video games and waited for turns. In the hotel room after some fun time in the pool, they cuddle against either side of her. As I lifted my camera to capture the moment, their grins simultaneously pierced my heart and overflowed it with love. The joy and happiness oozed out of the pierced heart-holes, filling up the rest of me for the moment, the present time being; I snapped another photo as they sat in the same places with the same smiles. I want to come back, to this place, when I need to remember.

The love that these two brothers have for a sister that lives hundreds of miles away will wreck you, will reaffirm your faith in humanity, will make you question right and wrong, will fill you with a thousand and one emotions. If you look too closely at the way one peeks out from underneath long eyelashes to watch her, as if willing his eyes to memorize the landscape of her face just in case he doesn’t see her for another year — or longer, your soul will slowly clamp down on itself for fear of melting into a puddle of both joy and sadness. When you leave the restaurant and watch the youngest one reach for her hand to walk through the parking lot, you will choke-cough on the feeling that doesn’t lend itself to one word.


And then, finding yourself lost in the silence after climbing in the car after hugs and goodbyes, if you look up into the rearview mirror, you will make eye contact with the two saddest faces in the history of saddest faces. Instead of making cheery small talk, you decide to let the silence play out; they will speak what they need to soon enough.

“When we get home, can I write her a letter?”

Oh sweet boy, yes.

52 Weeks of Brotherhood, Week 1: The Pool


I wish I could share pictures with you of our visit. The pictures themselves will make it into the 2014 volume of our 52 Weeks of Brotherhood books, as will these two photos from our time at the pool before they arrived. For now, read these words and know that two brothers miss their sister very much.



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7 Replies to “52 Weeks of Brotherhood, Week 1: The One Where I Don’t Show You the Photos that Match the Story”

  1. my eyes are leaking down my face while i am at work.
    i remember such love for my cousin who lived in florida. add that complete and honest feeling to my knowledge that it pales in comparison to how your boys must feel and yep, tears.
    sending you so much love, jenna. i can’t even imagine how you feel, no matter how eloquently you write about it. this really was a beautiful piece, my friend.

  2. Your kiddos are part of what’s going to turn this society around, with their all-encompassing ideas of what makes a family, and with their so-big hearts. Good on you, mama, for making it so!

  3. I read this and I feel the happiness and sadness at the same time. I sit on the other side of a visit as a mom through adoption. I see my girls and the relationships they have with their families including siblings. I see their reactions but I don’t always see or hear directly the reactions of their families and siblings. I can guess based on our reactions and what I want to do is thank you for sharing, sharing how these wonderful times together are also the hardest times.

    Hugs to all of you!

  4. We miss her too. The occasional glimpse. The other piece of you and your story. I think I can speak for a lot of your readers that we miss her too. Not sure if this privacy is their request or yours but she is missed. That’s all.

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