Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Middle Brother

I was thinking about siblings and how much my middle brother used to piss me off after writing the last post. We are a little less than two years apart, and I don't think I ever got over the way he inconvenienced the family when he was born. My memories start at his birth. It was very traumatic.

We had to share a room when we were little, and I had the top of the bunk bed. I would sometimes wake up on the floor, having fallen out overnight, and I could smell that sour baby-bottle breath coming from the bottom bunk. I tried to avoid him but he followed my friends and I around. It was okay as long as he would follow directions. He let us put old make-up on him, which gave him a nasty case of pink eye. The result was that my mom had to get him an ointment and keep the lights down low while he rested on the couch with a wet washcloth on his face. What a baby.

Following me around almost caused his early demise. I was running back to a camper in a beach parking lot with another little girl, and my brother trailed behind as usual. He was hit by a teenager on a motorcycle and had to go to the hospital. The next day was Easter so no egg hunt, all because of his dumb injuries. I went with my dad to pick him up from the hospital, and I was so disgusted when he came out in a wheelchair with my mom. I asked him suspiciously,"Why are you in that? You're not THAT hurt." Not the most empathetic time of my life. He even got settlement money from the accident, which I somehow attributed to him being lucky.

My family moved around quite a bit and it always took me awhile to make new friends. My brother, on the other hand, made friends instantly. He would flutter his big, blue eyes that he always got so much attention for, and a friend would appear. I remember sitting on the floor with him at a bank, waiting for my mom, and a kid came up and became my brother's new best friend in five minutes. I was so insulted. The kid probably wondered what was wrong with the nice kid's scowling sister.

When we were a little older, my brother thought he was a spy (few too many James Bond movies), so he would do missions around the house. He found my friend and I smoking cigarettes in the backyard when I was in junior high, and the little sneak kept the cigarette butts. I didn't know until I overheard my mom confronting him about the butts she found in his room. I heard his delighted tone when he told her they were mine, but I was the one who was delighted when I heard my mom's response, "Stop spying on your sister!" She must have realized the risks of having a spy as a child because he eventually unearthed some sensitive information about her. His googly eyes were wide with excitement when he came to my room to share his findings.

It's funny to think about how annoying it was to have a brother . . . the name calling, hair pulling, kicking, hitting, yelling, tattle-telling, judging, tallying . . . I was convinced he was the golden child of the family (still am) and he thought I was the favorite (still does). We have another brother as well, but he's seven years younger so he was never so irritating. I can't say my middle brother felt the same way as he broke my younger brother's collarbone TWICE (I guess I still enjoy telling on him).

Now my brothers are two of my favorite people in the world. Even though my middle brother lives on the East Coast, I have never felt closer to him. We've had a few rough spots over the years - even as adults - but I wouldn't trade him for anything. I have to admit my brothers are more entertaining than I am, but we share a sense of humor born out of the struggles of growing up together. The prize that came from annoying the hell out of each other for years is that these days we can make each other laugh like no one else.


  1. i haven't read this one in a while and it made me a little sad after saying goodbye to him today.

    thanks for the comments!