Thursday, June 5, 2008

He Ain't Heavy

I ran across this picture at The Grandma's house when I was in Arizona. This is me at age 14 holding my new little baby brother, otherwise known as Uncle Mike. Despite looking quite bershon in the picture, I loved my baby brother then almost as much as I do 27 years later.

For various reasons, that won't be blogged about here, I felt a need to protect my brother when he was a baby. Because of this and 14 years separating us, we haven't always had what I'd call the "normal" brother-sister relationship. I think our relationship took a dramatic change while we were in Arizona caring for our mother.

When the heart surgery was over, the doctors told us that mom would have to have someone with her 24/7 for the first two weeks she was out of the hospital. Financially, this was going to put a huge strain on my life. Not to mention the fact that I had already been away from Robby longer than I had ever been. I was already making plans to get Robby to Arizona and make that call to my boss telling him I'd be away for a little while longer. So, it came as a shock when Mike suggested that he be the one to stay and take care of everything. When he first proposed the idea, it seemed ludicrous and not even worth considering. Afterall, I am the one who takes care of everything.

Somewhere in the middle of him stating all the reasons why he should be the one to stay, it hit me that my being the one who takes care of everything is a choice I make over and over again. And if it's a choice, then maybe I did have the option of not being that person this time. Entertaining this idea became a reality when Mike said that he wanted to have this chance to do something, and not always be the one who f*cks up all the time.

In the end, he stayed and I went home. I don't know what happened to that kid who played drums in the garage bands, slept until noon, had twelve W-2's in one year, and always came to me when he had a problem. Somewhere along the way he became the brother that gives me money when I need it, installs a dog door for me, stays calm when I get stressed out and loves my son almost as much as I do. He's getting married later this month and although I'm so very happy for him I can't help but miss the feeling of cradling him in my arms and protecting him from life.

Being his big sister showed me how much I truly wanted to be The Mama someday. I know I do a better job at it because he's in my life. For that alone, I owe my little brother the world.

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