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.


Oh, The Joys said...

Nice one! That makes me think of my own brother.

Jill said...

Little brothers are the best!

texas math said...

that was a younger brother with a sister who used to torture me by telling me she loved her "cabbage patch kid" dolls more than me...I understand this kind of relationship

Christina_the_wench said...

OMG that was too sweet. Happy Birthday little brother!

Lisa Goldstein/Kelly Kelly said...

Ha! Moving and funny. I'm sure my brother would relate to this post too. I am the older sister as well.


lil'bro said...

Thanks sis. I couldn't ask for a better sister, and I'm sure that in the end, we equally gave each other plenty of grief. Which only made us stronger in this world, and our bond stronger as well. Love to you-


Pendullum said...

Happy Birthday to your little Bro...and since he chose it for a blogger monniker I think he did not suffer too badly!!!

Kevin Charnas said...

What a beautiful tribute to him...Honestly...that got me teary.


Lisa said...

Happy Birthday little brother!

(I have one of those too and yes, I tortured him alot too. heehee.)

Kristin said...

My little brother is a pain in the arse and gives my kids loud and troublesome toys... but, I love him anyway.

Mamacita Tina said...

What a sweet post! I have a little brother, only he tormented me, not the other way around.

Becky said...

awww happy bday little brother!

Mom101 said...

What a thoughtful tribute. I'm so enamored of my own younger brother and suddenly I feel like a total wad for never acknowledging him this way. You're a good sis.

Mommy off the Record said...

Awww. That was so sweet. I especially like that last line. Total sisterly way to end it!

mk said...

That was beautiful!

mom said...

Oh, dear. Once again, my offspring amaze me. Both of you. You two have given us such joy. And I don't have to look too far for your inspiration.. thanks, DGM.

I do remember the day I looked out the window, towards the swing set, and saw him actually take a swing at you! I was shocked. And glad. And sorry. And happy.

Shocked he tried. Glad he missed. Sorry it was even an option. Happy that it NEVER, EVER had to happen again.

Then again, maybe you are referring to an entirely different eposide. known only to you & your sibling!

As is should be.

Happy Birthday, big sister.

jen said...

i love it. made me think of my own little brother, who is 34.

they never stop being little, even when they are big and amazing.

Jenny said...

What a beautiful tribute!