I was a senior; my brother was a freshman. We shared a wide circle of friends during that year that we attended the same high school, and we ate lunch together in one big horde of teenage camaraderie.
There were nine of us at a table made for eight, and on one fateful day the principal decided to make an example of us.
He stormed to the table, performed a quick head count, and said, "Too many people at this table. Rob, you're a freshman. You don't belong here anyway. Choose somewhere else to sit."
Rob presented an honest rebuttal. "She's my sister. I'm having lunch with my sister."
"Except she's a senior and you're a freshman, and I doubt she really wants you around. Come on, young man, pick up the tray and choose another table."
In reluctant and resentful submission, Rob picked up his tray and moved to an empty table nearby. I picked up my tray and joined him. We sat together, the two of us at a table for eight.
That story has gone down in family history as one of the most defining moments of our friendship, as he realized in that scene the true measure of his worth to me.
But I have to say, it didn't feel like a major decision to me. I didn't actually see an option. (I can sit her in a social cloud while my brother sits alone? Well, that's not really an option. The decision is made.)
My mom and I remembered this story together last evening. I said, "It just didn't feel like a decision to me, and it didn't even feel like a sacrifice. It's just what I needed to do."
She touched my arm with one finger, and her face lit up with the moment of recognition she had been waiting for.
"And now you know exactly how I have felt for the last ten months, Tricia. It hasn't felt like a decision to do this journey with you. It didn't even feel like a sacrifice. It's just what I needed to do. You get it now. For the first time, I think you get it."