I have a little brother. Even though we aren’t technically Irish twins I pretend that we are. At exactly seventeen months apart, we experienced a lot at the same time growing up. Chicken pox was one such experience I remember vividly. I was probably around 4 when I caught it from someone in pre-k and I distinctly recall my mother plopping he and I into an Aveeno bath, hoping that he would catch the virus from me so she wouldn’t have to go through it twice. He caught it, we itched together and she was pleased.
We shared a room before our baby sister came along when I was 5 and he was 4. We had twin beds pushed against a wall of clouds, wallpaper that my grandfather put up for us. I had a red pencil lamp on my bedside table and he had a blue pencil lamp on his bedside table. The sheets were covered in clowns. We would smash our beds together to make one big one when we weren’t fighting.
I tried to hurt my baby brother once. My evil moment was right after he was born. I was a mommy’s girl until that day and when my father went to hold my brother I must have realized his existence. I didn’t like that baby brother was getting attention from this man I knew was important somewhere in my periphery and I stuck my fingers down baby brother’s throat. From that day on I paid my dad a lot more attention.
He once was on television. Around the time he was five, baby brother was playing baseball at daycare. He slid into third base (maybe home plate?) and a rusty nail lodged into his knee. Because my mom had started the first workplace daycare center in the state of Wisconsin (and I believe one of the first in the nation, if not the first) while pregnant with me, she was able to be by his side in minutes. The news showed my brother’s injury and my mom talked about how great it was to be able to work and be within a quarter of a mile of her children during their formative years. She was profiled in a Japanese magazine for her contribution to working mothers around this time as well. I was very excited to see the two of them on the big screen though a little jealous that I had not been the one to receive a rusty nail to the knee.
My baby brother goes to Barnes and Noble to read books instead of buying them. He read every single Easy Rawlins novel in this way: seated in a comfortable leather chair for a few hours until his work or schooling called, remembering the page number he was on, and coming back the next day to finish up. Well, he used to do this until the Barnes and Noble near his apartment got rid of the leather chairs forcing him to the hard seats in the cafe. I am so pleased that we share a love of books even if I could not fathom reading my own inside a busy store.
He will arm-wrestle anyone at anytime and any place. He is hilarious, often without meaning to be. He loves the Green Bay Packers and the Milwaukee Brewers. He gets off work at 5am and occasionally goes to dive bars for a “nightcap” where his drinking buddies are third shift nurses. He gets his hair cut once a week. You will never catch him in a pair of dirty sneakers.
He is like our mother was: refined, tough, sharp, classy, bright, quiet and a bit closed off but tender and caring all the same.
We argue constantly. We are competitive. We have spelling bees. We use humongous words when we’re together to one-up each other. Sometimes our sentences lack sense and we laugh at our efforts. He texts in full sentences, always ending them with at least two dots because they “add emphasis to the meanings.(.)”
All that to say that he came to town with his gal this weekend and we had a great time.