We are typical, I guess, of most siblings. My friends and I dressed him up like a girl; we tossed him out of porch swings; I dropped him headfirst off picnic tables. He drove me nuts begging to hang out with me and my friends or blackmailing me for rides when I got a car. I professed to our parents multiple times that a 4 1/2 year age gap was just really shitty. For better or worse, though, he was my sibling and the only one at that.
Watching my own children grow reminds me of that bond siblings have. I can clearly see in my mind's memory the day Girlo Two walked her younger brother into Pre-K when she was only in second grade. Her cute little bob haircut, blue dress and cowboy boots holding tightly to his hand as he struggled to walk. He looking up to her for all the inside track on how school worked. I watch her protect him from the schoolyard bullies who don't see my witty, brilliant son, but focus on the braces on his legs. I hear him asking her to read a story at night instead of mom because she "cuddles up to him better" than I do. It reminds me of what I share with my own brother.
Don't get me wrong...there are times I'd like to kick the living shit outta him. He can make me madder than anyone on this Earth, save one. He doesn't listen to me. He does stupid stuff. He pushes my buttons intentionally to piss me off. He doesn't apologize for doing stupid stuff. When all is said and done, I'd still give him the beating heart from my chest.
As I write (type?) this, he is sitting on the other side of the world in the middle of the chaos in Japan. As I sat earlier today reading a message from him after the latest aftershock (for the record, 6.1 is a damn earthquake ~ not an aftershock, geological people), I broke. The only person on Earth with whom I share this bond is in the middle of a disaster, and I can do nothing. I cried like I haven't cried in many years. I never cried when he was in Iraq; I was prepared for anything and everything then. Now I wait impatiently for every message, and I am prepared for nothing.
My parents never told me to look out for him, but I always have. We are the only two people alive who know what it's like to be the children of our parents (and they are amazing ones to share). I can't look out for him now. I pray my prayers and hope, but that is all I can do. And, really, that just sucks. I need him home so I can make him haul my crap around in his truck, and I need him home so he can cheer on Girlo Two at her soccer games, and I need him home so I can pick on him and tell him what to do. I need him home so I know he's safe, and I need him home so I can cherish every single moment. Until then, Bratsy....
|Blurry photo, but it's us. Pacific Ocean 2003|