Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The magical impenetrable world of brothers

I've just had news of friends' new baby boy, their second. I know I wrote recently about how much I wanted a girl but it is true also that my heart swells when I hear news of a new set of brothers. There is something romantic and wonderful about brothers. They can destroy each other (think Cain and Abel, think David and Ed) but they can be the making of each other too. If I were into quoting Bette Midler I'd say that they were the wind beneath each other's wings. Sod it, I'll say it. When brotherhood works it's as if they are the wind beneath each other's wings. It's why, although I am proud to be a Labour Party supporter, I cannot feel easy about having Ed Milband as leader of the party. Whatever your relationship with your brother is like, however much you think you can do better than them, you do not stand against them for a job. When Ed Miliband uses standing against his brother as an example of having shown courage I think no actually, it's a moral failing that you did so.

When I hear of a second son being born, I think of this line from an incredibly moving article by Simon Stephenson that I read in The Guardian in July, about the death of his brother Dominic in the Asian tsunami:

"To have any brother in this world is to be part of an exclusive club to which no riches, no secret handshake, no guest list can ever gain you admittance."

And it makes me hope that I have two boys in the future. 


I've not read it yet but here is Simon Stephenson's book, Let Not the Waves of the Sea

And here is another very moving book about losing, and searching for, a brother. It's called The Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky and is by Ken Dornstein whose brother died in the Lockerbie air disaster. 


Related post: Am I a SMOG?

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