Once upon a time, I used to live in the south. Atlanta, Georgia to be exact and it was glorious. It's where my brother went to college and I soon followed in his footsteps. My life has pretty much been that in a nutshell. My brother did something first, tested out the waters and then I followed (slightly) in his footsteps. Going away to school was no exception. From the time he came back from his first semester at college I had already made up my mind that as soon as I graduated I was getting the heck out of dodge. Atlanta was at the top of my list with Spelman and Clark Atlanta University being my top two choices of schools. I ended up at CAU in the fall of 1997 with my brother across the way at Morehouse. It was a good time. I really liked being in college with my brother. Although we were still very different, suddenly the playing field was somewhat level and now we could hang out as peers. Not just me tagging along on my older brother's adventures. We still butted heads and had our sibling spats but then he went away for a year to study abroad and we had to work at our communication.
When I found out I was pregnant my brother was one of the first people I told and although he was scared for me and my future, because he is a good brother, he was supportive of my life choices and has been the most amazing uncle. Throughout the years our relationship has had it's ups and downs but in the end, it's always been just the two of us. We are like bookends, there may be some junk between us, but ultimately we hold each other up.
So when he told me he wanted to go back to school and get his masters but wasn't sure how it was going to happen, I told him to just go for it and we would help him in anyway we could. So he did. And he worked his ass off. Both at school and at his full-time job and then internship. I was beyond impressed.
When we finally arrived in Atlanta Friday evening, we met up with the rest of my family in town and headed out for a quick bite & drinks to kick off the weekend. Saturday was spent running around picking up last minute items for his hastily pulled together graduation party. This is where I have to sidebar to say: if he lived here it would have been a party of Pinterest like proportions but since I was slightly out of my element I just made do. Crossed wires meant we were running late as we headed to the graduation sans tickets hoping to meet up with the family that had them and then found out they weren't even needed. Womp womp.
We slid into our seats just in time for them to announce his major /concentration and then a minute later, there he was. Walking across the stage beaming proudly, hoping somewhere in the audience the people who loved and supported him were out there watching. And even though I had no screaming voice to speak of I was whooping & hollering with all my might. Being the ninja I am, I hustled my tush down to the front where they were having the grads walk back to their seats to snap a few rushed photos. He was two feet from me before he even noticed me I couldn't stop smiling and took a moment to wipe a few happy tears from my eyes. My cup was running over.
Immediately after the graduation we all spilled out into the lobby and began the tried and true tradition of trying to get great family photos in a sea of people. I think we did pretty well and loved our group selfie so much I'm getting it printed to send each person a copy.
4 out of 6 cousins in one room? I'd call it a win!
Later that night there was small shindig my brothers home and a few of his fnds and our cousins stopped by and it was just a good time. I got to catch up with folks I haven't seen for the better part of a decade while spending time with far-flung family and friends. We laughed, we ate, we told stories of days long gone and we told each other how proud we were and how much we loved each other.
It was a good time and I went to bed with a slight buzz, a full heart and a smile on my face.
It's a running joke how much I talk about my brother but how little he shares about me. I once met a friend of his from college who'd gone to school with him for FOUR YEARS before he knew he had a sister. I used to be butt hurt about it but then he told me, he did that because he's my brother and protective about who he brings around me and vice versa and he never wanted to see me hurt in anyway or hear anything about me from anyone he might know. I thought he was just hating because I was crushing on his friends but turns out, he was being a good brother. Who knew? I say that because he has always been my first proctector and my O.G. ride or die day one. So while there was behind the scenes family drama and a sense of I told him not to worry , cuz I had it. The same way he's had my back for all these years. I got his. We ride together, we die together. Conley's for life.