29 years ago today my life changed forever. Mostly for the better, but sometimes not. I became a big sister to
this: (actual photo! Wasn’t he cute???)
He cried a lot. He pooped a lot. He stole all my attention. He also stole my name – kind of, as both of us were named after a grandfather we’d never met. People would hear our names and then fight a smile that clearly said, “Your parents are stupid.”
As he grew up, I grew away from him. With 9 years between us we didn’t have a lot in common. He was my brother, he had red hair, a bad temper, and every single Transformer and He-Man doll action figure ever made, and I had moved on to all those pre-teen things that were so very, very important. Then I went to high-school and eventually college, and aside from having a picture of him in my dorm room to use as a conversation starter, I remained mostly aloof to him. I just couldn’t relate, man.
While I was away at college doing things with boys and skipping classes “studying in the library until the wee hours,” my brother was at home over-achieving. He was in the big brain society. He played on select soccer teams. He had friends and went to church and probably disabled a few nuclear devices with .005 seconds to spare. When I came home for holidays and weekends we exchanged pleasantries like, “You haven’t been in my room, have you?” and “When are you leaving?” The love between us was palpable, people.
Life went on; I got married and started squirting out kids, he finished high school, went to college on scholarship, and our places in life continued to differ. We had our parents in common and we both liked his girlfriend a lot. That was pretty much it. Eventually he got married to the girlfriend we both liked a lot. It was a beautiful wedding and awesome reception y’all! And then suddenly? Suddenly our paths began to merge a little. He and Jack played nerd games. His beautiful wife and I talked about my mother’s quirkiness. We got together on more than major religious holidays. Before you knew it, he was spending time playing nerd video games with his nieces, and gosh darn it if he didn’t agree to drive over an hour out of his way every Monday and Saturday to help Jack coach Amelia’s basketball team. Just because I asked him to. Because he is awesome.
It only took me 29 years to figure that out.