I didn't know what I'd find.
It had been sometime before my children were born that I saw my brother. Sometime after I married. So more than fifteen years, fewer than twenty-one. Still, a long time.
For much of that time I didn't know where my brother was, exactly. I didn't hear from him, nor did I seek him out. We were both living our lives as they presented themselves. I started a family, forged a career, grown older and softer and wiser.
Now, my wife was facing a milestone birthday. It's at those round numbers where you ponder mortality, look back and judge your younger selves. She, wisely, chose something different. She wanted to go to Las Vegas for her birthday.
This is a wonderful idea that she had. We have plenty of things. If we want a new thing, we get it. We are struggling to rid our house of useless things. So let's make memories. Let's have fun. Let's stay on the Strip, gamble away the money we'd use to buy things, and drag the kids along for the ride. It was a very good time.
Las Vegas is where my brother is. I hadn't been there for, what was it, fifteen to twenty-one years? I can't not see my brother.
So we set it up - a breakfast meeting near his home. We set aside that time in our schedule and, when the time came, we went. I didn't know what to expect, but I had my family with me; those people in my life that help me make my way through. My family gives me purpose and strength.
We met in the foyer. I saw my eyes, our mother's Irish eyes, looking back at me. It was like looking at my reflection.
What we discussed was largely mundane and inconsequential. We talked for hours. He also met us at the airport while we sat around waiting for our flight to be repeatedly delayed. This was the highlight of our trip.
My daughter has those eyes. Maybe some day she'll look into mine and see herself, too.