“Everyone knows that if you’ve got a brother, you’re going to fight.”—Liam Gallagher
“Nothing can stop me from loving my brother.”—Brandy Norwood
“My back has been bothering me. I’m not for sure why,” he reveals to me during a phone conversation.
“I know what you mean. I put ice on my back most mornings,” I reply.
“Those foods used to never bother me, but now . . .” he later bemoans.
“Me too!” I declare in affirmative.
“I love you,” he states as he hangs up the phone.
“I love you, too.”
Is this really the same person with whom I used to debate over whose turn it was to wash versus dry the dishes after supper? Is this the same person with whom I became so enraged that I actually pelted him in the belly with a plastic baseball bat? Was this the same person who, in my young mind, used run straight to Mom to reveal my misdeeds, and infuriate me enough to plot his death, or, at the very least contemplate all of the ways I could cause him equivalent injury?
Of course, this is also the same person whose baby crib and my twin bed once occupied the same space, leaving me to feel like his guardian. He is the same person to whom I would read storybook after storybook once I learned how to read. As a teen, whenever I heard the newest alternative music, I couldn’t wait to tell him all about it. Furthermore, we shared a love of cooking the classic, “Chef Boyardee Pizza kit,” all the while “doctoring it up” (aka adding extra toppings to it that weren’t in the kit.) Plus, we both loved to come home from junior high and high school, flip on the TV, and watch the newest After School Special, a made for TV movie based upon a currently popular teen book; old TV reruns, such as Bewitched or Bonanza; or, later, when I was in my first year of college at the local branch of Ohio University, our favorite soap opera, Santa Barbara.
I felt as if I was my brother’s guardian.
It all began one day in May 1968. Up until that point, I was special. I was the only one; and in my mind, the entire world centered on me. Then, my solo career came crashing to a sudden and irreversible halt! One day I was sent to stay with my grandparents; and, low and behold, several days later, I went home to find, of all things, a baby—a boy, at that, who would monopolize what was once my spotlight! Little did I know, this unknown baby was only the first addition with whom I needed to adjust—I would eventually have to share the limelight with two more babies, but at least they were girls!
By the time I was three, I had lost my center-stage status and was forced to share the stage with other siblings, the first of which was my brother, Scott.
As the childhood years passed, my brother, Scott, would become both friend and foe. I had a temper, and he knew how to set it off. Heaven help me, when he and our middle sister, Traci, would pair up together against our baby sister, Rachel, or me.
One of the more funny examples of this occurred when Rachel was quite young—no more than two years of age. Scott and Traci devised a plan to trick her into climbing inside a toy box in their bedroom to look for a “lost” item. Once she was within the box, they promptly shut the lid and sat on top of it. I was horrified, and of course, angry. I began yelling at them from my bedroom to, “Let her go,” while they laughed at me. Running in a rage towards them, I tried hitting and kicking them. Of course, mom quickly entered the room; and in the end, I was trouble because, “I was the oldest and should have got her rather than taking business into my own hands.” I declare, where’s the justice in that?
No matter how annoyed I could become with Scott, I was the first person to rise in his defense any time I perceived another person outside of our family picking on him. If any of the neighborhood or school boys we knew, said a cross word to Scott, my black and white saddle oxford shoes instantly turned into kicking weapons as I simultaneously gave those so-called-baddies the greatest tongue-lashing I could create.
In fact, I recall one hot August day, while on a break during high school band camp, throwing my nearly five feet self in front of a pack of football players who were making fun of my brother. I dared a single one of them to pass in front of me and say another word to him. I stood my ground, craning my head, in order to look directly into each of their eyes as I set my chin firm and determined. They, quite miraculously, walked away and quit bothering him—at least for the rest of that day. Afterwards, once I realized how dangerous and quite stupid my actions were, I ran to hide inside the instrument closet of the band room and cried, but never told my brother, well, until now—assuming he reads this.
During our teen years, my siblings could be my best friend one moment, and my mortal enemy the next–at least temporarily.
Now that Scott is joining me in the fifth-decade-of-life club, I can see that through good times, and some rather ugly times, our deep connection and love has remained. Scott is witty, articulate, and intelligent. He loves Broadway musicals, good food/drinks, dogs, and music—especially danceable tunes. My brother served in the Air Force, has experienced a wide-ranging, successful career-life, has three beautiful kids, and one adorable grandchild. Plus, he is married to a person who truly loves him. I am proud to be his big sister.
Happy Belated Birthday, Scott!! May you continue to celebrate and dance through the rest of your life!
P.S. Thank you La Famiglia for the wonderful venue in which to celebrate and thank you Selena Urbaez for the delicious gluten-free, melt-in-your mouth, lemon cake as well as the decadent, uber-rich, gluten-free chocolate cupcakes!! Wow!