To my Brother on his 30th birthday,
Do you remember back to the days when thirty seemed far away and old? I’m sure you do, having been goal driven your entire life. Really. Your WHOLE life. Even those years you wanted to keep your paci and Mom and Dad had other plans, you stuck to your guns. That’s why I can’t help but think you have had a running clock in your head, counting down the hours, minutes, seconds to each and every birthday. And now here you are, here we are and suddenly thirty isn’t old so much as it is new and 15 seems a lifetime ago and yet feels like yesterday.
People don’t believe me that we didn’t fight as kids. Sure, we may have hurt feelings, but I don’t remember FIGHTING. Maybe it was because we were close in age or mom didn’t stand for it or we had the same friends or you complied so readily with my games and ideas. Whatever it was, I never resented your presence – you were my playmate/sidekick/partner in crime of choice. Okay, maybe I was a little irked when you blabbed about my first kiss or blackmailed me – were gooooooood and threatening. Mom always said I waited until you were stronger than me to duke it out and she was right. Why did we hold off on our spats until we could hurt each other and sling bad words and insults like pros? Silly kids. . .
Perhaps it was because I always wished you were my older brother. You would have filled the role well. As it was I was ALWAYS “Billy’s sister” save for a short time in elementary school and maybe the first year of high school. And it felt right. I was far more comfortable on the fringes of your personality than leading the way for you. I much preferred sitting through your Pack meetings, concerts, Karate tests, FFA events than doing my own thing. Over and over I thought God had mixed up our birth order. You led, you sweet talked, you weren’t afraid of school dances. You were, ahem, everything I wished I could be. You. Were. Awesome.
We are blessed that we have each other as the repository of our family’s memories. Sure, we will live a lifetime with our own families but only we will remember each other’s early years. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Thankfully, amid all the faults I passed on to my kids, they got pieces of you as well. I see it in Max’s leadership, EVERYTHING about Philip, the thrashing Tess does in her sleep, Ellie’s silliness and Gemma’s outright laughter as she dozes. I wish you lived closer so you could see it, too. As it is, I try to keep them informed of their Uncle’s adventures. But it’s a little one-sided. I wish you were around to fill them in on their mother’s mistakes and their grandparent’s greatness. Even with the distance, though, you are legendary in their eyes.
And in mine, too.
Happy birthday, dude.