When someone with whom one shares a very close relationship 'comes of age', it really is a special ocassion that can only be celebrated by earnest and sincere hugging (the type that lasts just a few seconds longer than The Greeting Hug and includes a few rubs to the back) and the uttering of the magnitude of one's pride in said person.
I remember when I got my first job, how The Parental Unit beamed with such pride - particularly The Father; his face almost cracked into two - at the realisation that I would be able to kind of take care of myself. They held me in their embrace as though they really loved me and were no longer forced to act this way when outsiders were in the company of the family unit.
I felt similar on Sunday. The Brother, you see, was down for the weekend and staying at mine. I, of course, was away, making Heston Blumenthal's 'Eggs and Soldiers' with a less rugby-focussed, although equally liquor-focused crowd.
Upon my returnal, I found The Brother dejected on the couch, wrapped up in my duvet, unable to open the gate to assist in my entering.
The Pant: Shame, Uncle. You look awful. Are you okay?
The Brother: No. I am starting to worry that I might die.
TP: Big night then?
TP: What's this? (Looking down to exceptionally impractical cream carpets and noticing several reddish brown footprints between lounge and bed, and bed and bathroom, and bathroom and kitchen.)
TB: I cut my foot on a bottle last night. I'm sorry, but I thought it had stopped bleeding and it hadn't and now there's blood all over your sheets and duvet cover.
Ah. The "I'm-Sorry-I-Cut-My-Foot-Excuse". He forgets, that I, too, have had to use similar excuses in my time. The "Please-May-I-Go-To-The-Bathroom-Miss-So-And-So-I'm-Having-A-Nose-Bleed" excuse. I wanted to reach out to him and tell him that it was alright and that it was something to be proud of. He was, as The Incubator said on that fateful afternoon, now able to have babies. Although, she, at the time, sternly interjected, that this was not an invitation for you to actually have babies.
It was later when I was showing off my domesticity and applying Vanish to the bloodied spots, that The Brother walked into the kitchen.
The Pant: Should Aunty Pant-Pant make you a nice cup of tea?
The Brother: Yes please.
TP: Look. I didn't think we'd ever have to have this conversation but I found these next to the couch (producing a box of 'Nurofen for Period Pain' tablets.)
TB: I couldn't find any-
TP: If you ever are in my house and you need sanitaryware-
TB: Pant, I swear. It's-
TP: I'm your sister. I know that this is scary for you but sisters stick together and I want you to know that I'm here for you-
TB: I have a huge pain-
TP: I know. The first time is always sore.
TB: It's not the first time-
TP: You really need to learn how to deal with this time of the month-
TB: I think you mean 'time of the weekend'.
TP: Yes, your cycles may take a little time to sort themselves out.
TB: Don't you have any Panado in this house?
TP: I think Nurofen for Period Pains is the strongest stuff I've got for ... er... you know. Your first period.
I looked at him lovingly for just a wee second. I realised I'd just had my first practice round of the conversation that I will forever dread having with The Daughter. And then he said:
TB: Eff off.
And I realised that The Brother was definitely not The Sister. Which is nice.