If you know me at all, you likely know that my sister and I don't see eye to eye on a great many things, and so we don't speak much. Other than our appearance, which is totally different (she is a tall, thin, gorgeous cross country runner, whereas I am a rather short chunky on-my-butt-with-a-book type), I usually can't decide if we're too much alike, or too different. It makes me sad, but that's the way our cookie crumbled.
But talking to my mother on the phone the other night, she reported that my sister finished her master's degree. (She is a high school math teacher back home in New York.) I am just about busting with pride, despite the fact that I had zero to do with it. I'm proud of her for pursuing a career I could never imagine. (Really? Teaching calculus to high schoolers?) I'm proud of her for deciding to stay in New York (I often think that I took the easy way out, running away to someplace new and starting over fresh). I'm proud of her for getting her master's while working full time, for living the healthiest lifestyle I've ever seen, and for generally being an all-around bad-ass in terms of talent and smarts. If I ever have a daughter, I want her to have my sister's drive and endurance. My sister has made it through some really crap times where she shouldered the burden of supporting people, and she always does it with strength and grace, and I admire that.
I'm proud of my brother , who is just recently off his 4 year active duty tour as a U.S. Marine, where he was stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not only is he an elite member of the Corps, he never lost his sense of humor and has grown up to be a truly wonderful man. (Which is a wee bit weird, as his older sister by 6 years, to say.) he is good humored, down-to-earth, and a wonderful writer when he decides to put pen to paper. For a guy who was trained to kill, he is noticeably less rage-y than I tend to be. He's positively mellow, but also happy to offer to beat up the latest boy who has made me cry. If I ever have a son, I hope he turns out just like my brother.
Thinking about this a bit, I'm proud of all of us. I'm proud of my mother, who raised three good kids, who has supported all of our choices and never once brought up what life would have been like if she had never had kids, and who has the best work ethic and most loving personality I have ever seen in a human being. She taught us right from wrong, made it to every single one of our concerts/awards ceremonies. etc., and never once gave us a hard time about dragging her every which way but loose. Mom has raised an eyebrow once or twice, but never judged me for school-hopping (I'm currently on my 4th and 5th master's programs), career-hopping (I started out in a PoliSci PhD program - no librarianship in sight), or for moving home after a really difficult personal time to get my shit together. And when I judge myself harshly, Mom is the one who puts things in perspective and sheds a kinder light on life.
I am filled with the warm fuzzies for the people I come from. None of them actually read this *grin* but I wanted the world to know what wonderful people I have in my fam. Yay me!