Today is my brothers birthday. He’s the one next to me in line so he’s the oldest male in the family. We are 20 months apart in age but since I was Miss SmartyPants and had to skip a grade, we were 3 grades apart. In high school the age difference was probably the broadest as he was a freshman when I was a oh-so-cool-I-can’t-talk-to-you senior. I mean I had my driver’s license. Come on, how much cooler could I get? Oh I’d deign to talk to him when I was giving him a ride to school in the mornings. Poor guy, my extensive ministrations every morning meant we were flying to school as fast as my 1972 Chevy Nova V-8 engine could carry us. He inevitably was sprinting across the railroad tracks from the student parking lot in a vain attempt to not be late for his first hour of class. Whatever, he was a freshman. They’re supposed to suffer.
Strangely enough he followed me to college and enrolled in the engineering school at Marquette my senior year. There is an infamous story about his interview with the Dean of the engineering school that I accompanied him on. As I’d done for most of his life, I proceeded to answer all the questions the Dean asked my brother. At which point the Dean turned to me and oh so elegantly led me down my path of self betrayal “So, do you want to attend Marquette?” he asked. ” Oh no sir” I replied with no little bit of condescension “I’m already enrolled here”. He smiled and replied “then I don’t need to talk to you do I?” The smile on my brother’s face was priceless. Someone had finally told his sister in no uncertain terms to shut up. Yes Virginia, miracles do happen.
As we’ve aged, the age difference has dissipated. In fact, sometimes I think he’s more mature than I am. He created (along with his beautiful wife) the family I’d always wanted. He’s been the rock I’ve turned to more times than I can remember, especially these past 20 months. He’s the one I know will drop everything when I need help. He calls to check up on me every week and he lets me do all the talking once again. I can honestly say, he’s more than a brother to me, he’s one of my best friends. I’m very, very lucky to have him in my life. Thanks Bro, and Happy Birthday.