Hey, Big Brother
My older brother and I are a year and two months apart. I guess it was a good thing, because he never really got used to being alone, and I latched onto him from the moment I was mobile. Going through life with my brother by my side was overwhelming. Overwhelmingly fun, overwhelmingly hysterical, and overwhelmingly comforting. I was comforted in knowing that I had my person with me all the time, and that I wasn’t going through the thick of life alone. We fought and bickered like any other two siblings, but to be honest we were best friends from day one. We were inseparable, whether we liked it or not we were stuck with one another. My mother wouldn’t have had it any other way.
The day he went away to college I cried myself to sleep, and I made my mom sleep with me that night. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t know what to do without him. After all those years of counting on him to be there for me, I would finally have to figure things out on my own, and that I did. I figured out my own way, so much that during most of our twenties we were at odds with one another. We grew apart fast and in a hurry. It was quite devastating. Fortunately, we found ourselves in our thirties mending the broken parts of our relationship. It helps that I birthed a little chunker that has seemed to bring us all together again.
He spent the past weekend with us and it was so wonderful to have him and our spawn spend time together. My brother got to see my little girl in action; running, coloring, laughing, being cuddly, making a disaster of our living room and he even got to hear her scream bloody murder at bedtime. It was a short weekend, but I must have taken a million photos of them doing nothing and everything together. She is currently crazy about her Uncle, and I think he feels the same way.
Once we dropped him off at the airport and our family count was back down to three, I started thinking about how truly special it was to have my brother around. I’ve been thinking a lot about how close we used to be, all the funny stories we have together, and how much I truly love that we are back on track. I absolutely adored my brother growing up, and watching him with my daughter has opened up my heart to a whole new level of adoration. It’s insane to me how much we’ve grown up and how much we’ve both accomplished in our thirty something years. We are so lucky that we have each other, even when it was hard to see. I had to do some digging around, but I was able to find the essay I wrote for my college applications. I had written it about my favorite person, my big brother. Two things are clear to me after reading it again; I’ve always been extremely dramatic and wordy, and that my big brother is the best friend I could always count on.
Excerpts taken from my college essay, written in the Fall of 1999:
“I did not realize then what I do now, but this would be the last time my brother and I would go away on a trip together before he left for college. We were in the air for what seemed like hours, awaiting our first look at Texas. I sat there, dreaming, thinking about how life would be without my brother. He has been the most important person in my life and now he was leaving me to go to college. I took a glance outside the window, noticed the different shades of blue in the sky and couldn’t help thinking about how much that reflected my own feelings. At that moment tears were falling down my face… For the first time in my life I understood the term, “bittersweet.” I knew that there would be no more late night talks in my room, about how our respective days went. There would be no one to give me lunch money if I left it at home; no one to give me a ride to school; no one to pick me up from softball practice. Most importantly, there would be no one to give me advice, and just talk to when I needed someone to listen to my crazy thoughts, or cry about how things were going in my social life. I also dreaded that I would not be the person he would discuss his feelings, hopes and dreams with… This last trip meant we were finally growing up, and nothing could stop it.”
Leo, my little chunker is so lucky to have you as her Uncle. I’m counting down the days until we are all in one state again. Love you, big brother.