I remember when we were newly married and were invited to lunch by a couple that had been married for a while. One of the things the husband told us was that no matter old he got, his relationships with his siblings reverted back to the same patterns there were growing up. I was very skeptical. How could it be that after all these years, he and his siblings couldn't move on? Of course, over time, I came to realize the truth of his words.
It's not easy having my brother live in Israel. Going from sharing a room with someone for almost 18 years to seeing him, at best, once or twice a year, is not easy. When we get together, I feel a pressure to communicate, to somehow make up for lost time. Of course, that pressure makes talking harder. Except for when we run. There is something relaxing about going for a run with Eric. All pressure to talk fades away and we just talk. About life, our relationship, fatherhood, sports and running. I feel closer with him during those runs than during any other time. As we ran for the last time for a while (his trip ended yesterday) this past Friday, I thought of our dad and how much he would have enjoyed seeing us together.
A few months ago, Eric told me about Red Socks Friday. Red Socks Friday comes from a group of World War One soldiers who decided that those who survived would wear red socks each day, as a way of remembering their friends, both those who made it and those who didn't. Red Socks Friday takes this idea and has friends connect by wearing red socks each Friday. It's a small gesture of keeping each other in mind, even when separated by distance.
We decided to give it a shot. We ran the first Friday together. It won't be happening again for quite a while. For now, we'll be running together apart, joined by a pair of red socks.