By ANN BLASICK, Commentary | Published June 3, 2004
My brother, Mike, has recently fallen in love with a woman who’s not his wife, and I have proof. He hates telephones (not the physical object itself but rather the concept of having an extended conversation with someone he can’t see via a plastic gadget), but yet last week, he spent over an hour and a half on the telephone with me. And even more shocking is the fact that he was leading the conversation, barely letting me get in a word as he went on and on in blissfulness about this beautiful woman named Kaylee. (His wife’s name is Joy.) And to further prove my point, he’s been taking pictures of Kaylee nearly every day and sending them to me and his closest friends. They’re beautifully staged pictures that are clearly shot with great care. His love for Kaylee radiates in each and every photograph.
This phenomenon of seeing my brother love in such a complete, pure and selfless way has brought me to tears more than once over the past few days. He has become a poet when he speaks of Kaylee and an artist when he photographs her.
No one should be feeling pity for my brother’s wife or anger at my brother’s unfaithfulness. These judgments are unfair because while he is speaking of his love for Kaylee, he simultaneously speaks of his increased love, admiration and respect for his wife. Our long telephone conversation was one like I’ve never had with my brother. His language was lyrical containing sentiments I didn’t know he was capable of expressing and that I cannot with any justice reiterate. The words came pouring out of his soul too quickly for me to remember even a fraction of them. But they clearly conveyed to me that his love for Joy and for Kaylee are intertwined and are God-inspired. The presence of Kaylee in his life makes him love his wife more.
Kaylee and Joy have many striking similarities and differences. Kaylee is physically much more petite than Joy, but their features are similar. Kaylee is at intervals outspoken and then timid (either she is loudly proclaiming her presence or existing quietly barely making a sound); Joy is consistently friendly and even-keeled. Whereas Joy dislikes dairy products, particularly cheese, Kaylee’s motto should be “Got Milk?” Joy loves doing arts and crafts. Last year, she learned to quilt and since then has made several beautiful wall-hangings. Kaylee would much prefer to slumber in a quilt than make one. Kaylee is a much younger woman. Joy is 26 years old; Kaylee is only 11 days old. The woman my brother has fallen so completely and beautifully in love with is his daughter, his first child who surprised all of us by coming into the world five weeks early weighing in at a mere but very healthy 5 lbs., 8 oz.
Since Mike and Joy live in New Jersey, I had to meet my niece and goddaughter online rather than in person. I expected to cry when I saw the first pictures of Kaylee; instead I cried when I saw the first pictures of my brother glowing as he held his daughter. The picture on the computer loaded slowly because of our dial-up connection, and so I saw my brother’s beaming eyes and radiant smile before I saw the baby’s tiny face. It was Mike’s eyes and smile that first made the tears well in my eyes. His joy was almost tangible. Instead of crying when I heard Kaylee coo, I cried when I heard Mike relay his daughter’s birth.
I hadn’t expected the experience of becoming an aunt to a baby who lives 1,000 miles away to be so touching and profound. I’ve seen God in my brother over these past 11 days in a very real way. I can make no other comparison than to say I see God’s love for us in my brother’s love for his daughter and his wife. I don’t think Mike realizes it, but his words and his pictures have given me a newfound insight into God’s love. My little brother’s love for his child is teaching me more than any book or homily.
When Joy was pregnant, my brother, following the typical “manly” protocol, boldly said that he wanted a son (of course he prefaced this by saying he wanted the baby to be healthy first and foremost). Now I am certain he wouldn’t trade Kaylee for the longest line of sports cars or the tallest mountain of power tools.
The next time I forget that God loves me, I will simply think of Mike and Kaylee, and I will be reminded that I am His precious child.