First of all, you have to listen to the way my son says the word cereal. It's hysterical. At least, I think it is.
My brother is 25 today. I have to admit that, lately, more than any other reason, he is the driving force behind my insane desire to welcome a second child into this family. I look back on my life, which was made so much richer by the fact that Jon was in it, and my heart aches for the same relationship for my own son. I watch all the other toddlers at church either interacting with their new siblings or waiting for them to be birthed and I long for Garrett to experience the joy of a brother or sister who is close in age.
I didn't want my brother.
I wanted the blonde baby in the incubator next to my nine-week premature pipsqueak of a sibling. He'd decided to arrive in the afternoon on Christmas Eve. I was two years, three months, and 16 days old. He was puny and, after weeks in the NICU, warranted showers and loads and oodles of attention. And I did not like that.
He grew into an obnoxious instigator of a little boy. So I hit him. In middle school and high school I generally tried my best to ignore him. Once I pulled a butcher knife on him. And, okay, so I just held it out and told him to get away from me and there was never ever a fraction of a moment where I considered using it on him but what with the way my dad reacted you'd have thought I'd actually killed my brother, right there in the kitchen.
Now that I'm a mother, I (mostly) understand. But, for the record dad...he started it!
Even when he was small and new and even when we had nothing in common and even when I was hitting him, he was mine. He's the only other person in the world who knows what it is like to be raised in our house. He's the only child who shared every vacation, every Christmas, every birthday, every day in and day out with me.
How he is 25 and engaged and walking around with two Master's degrees I'll never know. Because when I look at him I generally see my snaggle toothed kid brother. I see all the times I loved him and all the times I wanted to punch him in the face and all the memories we share because we had each other. And I long for that for my own child.
Happy Birthday, Jon. I just have one thing to say, "You're still not older than me."
Edited to add: My mom posted pictures on her website. You can see exactly what I mean by pipsqueak here.