I learned a lot this past week. As Alicia and I traveled through the museums and around the monuments of our nation's capital I learned about the men and women who have worked to make this country what it is. As we strolled through the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods in Maryland's capital, I learned I could live very happily there.
I learned Richmond has got to be one of the worst cities to try to drive in. I also learned how to drive from Northern Virginia to Philadelphia with a minimum of nervous breakdowns along the way and that I am glad I don't drive a Prius.
However, I think my biggest lessons were about someone I already thought I knew well.
When we were growing up, my brother and I went through a period of strife, which I'm sure is common to all siblings who are just over 18 months apart. For a while our daily communications consisted of shouting angrily or not speaking at all. The problem is, this stage of life lasted for quite a while and then we both moved away and didn't really communicate at all. I didn't really notice when we came out the other side of this stage and could stand to be in the same room as each other and even went to events together.
The problem always was that we were teenagers at the same time and while I was stubborn and mean, Nate was slightly arrogant and cocky, like most teenage boys. Well, I grew up and I gave myself credit for it. While I can still be stubborn on a regular basis. I like to give myself credit for no longer being mean for the sake of being mean.
I didn't give Nate the same credit. I didn't notice when he stopped being arrogant and cocky. But this past week, as I spent time with his wife in their house and listened to her talk about his friends and their friends and their life in Virginia, I often found myself thinking "Who is this person she's talking about? I hardly even know him anymore."
But the fact is, looking back on it, everything she's said and everything I've noticed is true. He said without hesitation that I could take his car, his Prius from their house to Philly and back. I used his phone while I was there, fairly secure in the knowledge that he would have been okay with it. I remember when the papal election was over in 2005, I was in Macomb at college, and Nate was in Pennsylvania at graduate school and we watched the announcement together instant messaging. We were both mesmerized.
I find the older I get, the more similar to him I become and I'm okay with that. I just feel like I have a lot more to learn.