Monday, January 22, 2007
Brother Of Mine
Thirty years ago today, I became a big sister.
Although without pictures, I fear that I wouldn't remember the days when Ryan was "my baby", the days of his toothless smiles, crawling and never-ending comfort of his two favorite stuffed animals "Pooh" and "Pima", but I cannot remember a world without him in it.
For thirty years, three decades of changes, he has been my "little" brother, even when he stopped being so little (around ages 8 and 12 for us).
He has put up with a bossy, emotional, teasing and demanding big sister for his entire life. He has never had our parents all to himself, he never knew a life without his sister in it, and I'm sure there were times when he wished he would have. Believe me, I put him through the ringer when we were little, and I'm surprised that he still speaks to me. Surprised, and lucky.
You see, big sisters don't often realize the turmoil and nastiness they inflict upon their younger sibling until much later, and only then do they realize just how lucky they are to have a younger sibling who, even if it isn't obvious, looks up to them.
Despite the fact that I told Ryan there were monsters in his closet, turned the lights off in the basement and barricaded him in so he couldn't escape, called him names, hid his toys and forced him to play Barbies with me, he still hung aroud. It wasn't until a very memorable day when I'd finally pushed his buttons one too many times that he finally fought back, and when he did, that was the end of it. After his uprising, we established a new order in our house. I didn't mess with him ever again.
I started college when Ryan entered high school (brilliant planning on my parents part so that we wouldn't have to attend high school together, I thought) and we discovered that with this new space and understanding between us, we really liked each other. I kept up on his "goings on" and he seemed somewhat interested in my life away at school. When it was his turn, four years later, I had tears in my eyes visiting him at his dorm room, his "home away from home", his life, beginning.
He was so much better at it than I was. He was stronger, confident and definitely in his element. He didn't have to call home every week just to hear our mother's voice, he wasn't needy like I was. Here was my baby brother carving a life for himself that didn't have anything to do with me, and a piece of my heart went with him.
My meticulous, detail-oriented, lego masterpiece building and whiz kid brother graduated with a degree in Fine Arts. He is an artist, a painter and always a thinker. My mom used to call him "Little Buddah" when he was a baby because he just liked to sit back and observe all that was going on. Now I know that he was probably thinking "how did I get stuck with such a weird big sister?" as I stacked his blocks in a pyramid for him to knock down. He was probably thinking I should arrange them in a much more complex shape.
He is intelligent beyond his years, and mine. He is driven and talented in a way that shocks me at times. He is focused and sensitive, and is the best Uncle in the world to my kids.
He is beginning to apply to grad school in places like New York and Rhode Island...far, far away. I could never do that and I admire the fact that he can.
He is brave and determined, and although I will ache to see him go when he does, I will be happy that he is following his dream, my little brother.
Thank you for making me the proudest big sister in the world. And thank you for not hating me for all that I put you through.
Happy 30th Birthday, nerd.
Posted by carrie