Today I give thanks for Shimon. He is my nephew, just two years younger than me always and forever since we were born, son of my half-brother on my father's side. But really he is so much more than that. He is like the brother I never had. When we were children we played with dinky cars and maneuvered them into each others' parking spaces. When we were young, he taught me that by pushing my lips together and flapping them as I blow through them with all my might, I could turn a raspberry sound into the rumble of a truck.
Shimon is one of the first people I communicate with every morning for years. He is the person I laugh with - until my sides split - until my stomach aches - until tears roll down my cheeks. All he has to do is lift his baby finger while drinking a glass of anything, especially at a dinner party with all kinds of guests present - and I start to laugh uncontrollably, embarrassingly, shamelessly. Indeed, I sometimes have to leave the table to gain control of my behavior. He understands me perfectly well, and has the intelligence and emotional insight that matches mine word for word - feeling for feeling. On the few occasions I get to stay over at his house, we both get up very early in the morning and whisper and laugh quietly so as not to wake anyone else up. He and I made a pact years ago that we would never have a falling out (he calls it a "ferebel") - no matter what! We have been there and done that and did not like it - no sirree - do not believe in it. And so, we tell each other our troubles, talk things out, tell each other the truth about how we feel. We know how to apologize and love one another through thick or thin, rain or snow, and, especially, Scrabble wins or Scrabble defeats!