Kid Brothers


That my kid brother laying on the floor next to me.  I’m going to guess that I’m 4 and he’s 2?  He’s just under two years younger than me and if I could go back in time, he would be the guy I would spend the day with.  Don’t get too far ahead of yourselves, I can pick up the phone anytime and give him a call; we just don’t talk as much as we could.  Or maybe we don’t talk about what we should, that’s probably a more likely description.

My parents raised two children in the same household with the same amount of love and understanding given to each of us.  Somehow we went in different directions with those lessons.  I was taught to be so protective of the family that at times outsiders see it as me being completely in charge of the world.  People commented last spring that they weren’t sure my parents could function on a certain level because they had become accustomed to my handling people and problems.  They hand-off the problems to me and let my brother handle things like “what’s for dinner?”

I protect my brother from handling some of the nastier things in life.  I even used to handle some of the mundane things in life.  Fun fact – just the notion of someone opening National Geographic Magazine to a picture of a snake will send him into a tailspin of panic.  He took my nephew to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and stood outside the reptile pavilion while the kid went inside.  So I’ve in the past driven an hour to his place to cut the lawn!  (disclosure- he has never been bitten by a snake, never had one slither across a tent when we used to be Boy Scouts; I have no explanation for it.)

Age and just general differences in us meant we never played on the same sports teams.  I still make fun of him playing t-ball because the rules changed for the league between the times we separately starting playing.  These days people are so worried about kids getting hit, I remember getting hit in the head and being told “Walk to first base Lary!”  Times have changed.

I would have liked to play those games with my brother.  Have a different set of memories.  Playing pickup games with the neighborhood kids worked for a little while, but that age and my height advantage (he’s 5’10” and I’m 6’4″) took away some fun.  The last time we played basketball his mouth kept running and I kept blocking his shots, big brother took over for an 10 minute period.

Now when we talk, which isn’t anywhere near what it should be, we discuss my nephew or some music thing.  He’s never been able to talk to me about my daughter and what happened.  We absolutely don’t talk about the cancer because he doesn’t know how to accept a world where I can’t just show up and fix things.  I wish we had a better relationship, one where we could talk rather than just speak.

If it were 1978 again, maybe I could get him to play some video game with me.  Maybe I could have taught him how to ride that wagon down the hill in front of our house?  It’s not about regret, it is about wondering if maybe some of those differences growing up might have been better bridged if we did more things together rather than apart.

A day now where we just sat on the deck drinking a cold something talking about anything other than the mundane would be great.  I want to know that my brother will be able to handle things when I’m not able to.  I can only plan for so much in life, there are details I’m going to miss.

When that picture was taken we were crashed on the floor of my mother’s parents living room floor.  I’m glad someone thought to take it.  Might have been the most peaceful time they had with us around.  Two boys destroying the house…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Life’s a Candy Store.”

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