When I was fifteen years old, my youngest brother was born. And I was there, in and out of my parents’ bedroom turned delivery room, for the event. For hours and hours after the birth, I stood over my tiny newborn brother and repeatedly removed his thumb from his mouth and replaced it with a pacifier (and someone owes me a chunk of change, because he has perfect teeth).
Earlier that afternoon I had instructed my mother that she’d “better hurry up and have this baby today or tomorrow….or wait until the 2nd of July!” You see, all of the cousins on my dad’s side have a “2” in their birthday, and I didn’t want an oddball for a baby brother. Luckily, though, he obeyed Hawkes’ family law and was born on a suitable day.
As I stood over him that night, thankful he was healthy and the proud owner of a reputable birthday, that’s when it finally hit me, “When he’s fifteen, I’ll be thirty!” And thus began our relationship as brother and sister/part-time surrogate mother.
I took him everywhere with me (once he grew up a little, that is). We’d go on long walks and talk about nothing. And if babies and small children act as “chick magnets” for men, they act as “jerk repellents” for single girls. So, I took him with me whether he wanted to go or not.
I remember the first joke he ever told me. We were walking along and he stopped, “Sissy, do you see that squirrel?” He pointed and gestured and I looked and looked, but I didn’t see any trace of a squirrel.
“Where is it, buddy? I don’t see it anywhere.”
“It’s over there!” He bent down and pointed again, “Behind the dinosaur!!”
He was so stinkin’ cute. Well, he still is. Only now it’s the kind of cute best appreciated by sixteen year old girls. We live four hours away from each other and we haven’t taken a walk together in years. Our relationship had to change as he got older, I knew that and I’m fine with it (most of the time). And I’m very excited to get to know him as a peer!