My Brother

I’m seven years older than my brother. My first memory  of him, was just waiting for him. I don’t remember my Mom being pregnant, but I do remember the anticipation. Back then there were no ultrasounds and my Dad really wanted a boy. He loved us girls, he appreciated us and I think having me as the oldest, saved any boy that might have been born first from a lot of heartbreak. Despite his love and open wallet for us girls, my Dad really wanted a boy.

In much later years my mother would say, ‘thank god he was a boy, otherwise I would have had to keep having children’. Not a sentimental one, my mother and yes, the lowercase g is on purpose.

But my brother was the star of the family despite later sexist trauma. He was gurgly and pudgy and happy. I used to change his diaper every five minutes until my mother said I was wasting diapers. Cause he really wasn’t really needing a diaper change. He was cute and gurgly and kind of like a real live Barbie. Okay, no. He was better than a Barbie. He drank, he laughed, he cried,he peed and he needed a diaper change.

And I found a way around my Mom’s rules. I poured water down his diaper. I don’t remember him being upset. I just remember his being wet and needing a diaper change and I was happy to be of service.

And then later as we got older, I don’t remember a lot about my brother. I remember him always being there. I remember my best friend and I ripping Jelly Bellys in half and pasting them together to create medicine that he could take when we played a very tame version of doctor. I was a Doctor and Nurse’s daughter after all. I didn’t know about dirty doctor till much later. I remember building sand structures with him at the beach at our summer house. I remember traipsing to the stream down the beach from our house and gathering clay, though I think I remember our sister, the middle child, being more into that than either of us. I remember my brother being so skinny and dense that Mom was terrified he would be sucked away by the undertow. L.

I remember years later finding a body on the beach. It was a 13 year old boy who’d been sucked under by the current. And even though it was our first weekend there and he’d been in the water for two weeks, being grateful that the under tow hadn’t gotten my brother. I remember wanting him to be safe and happy.

And that’s exactly what didn’t happen. My brother is not happy. Well, I guess I can’t say that. Cause I haven’t talked to my brother in years. No one has. I don’t know what he thinks or feels. But whatever it is, it’s not a happy place.

When we were all still at home, my brother was the closest with my Mom. And he continued to be well after us older girls left home and had families of our own, but one day it just stopped.


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