Happy Birthday, Andy! I’m so glad God chose you to be my brother, and want to thank you for making every Halloween since “that” Halloween seem totally drab. (Apparently ‘candy’ is what most kids get.) I hope this birthday is the best one yet, and I wish you lots and lots and lots of happiness – for this next year, and for always. Love you so much, bro 🙂 xo, em.
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was Halloween evening, and there I sat under one of the kitchen bar stools, fully decked out in my costume, although I can’t tell you what kind of costume it was that year. I was not quite 3 at the time but I do remember this part, I do. I was hiding under the stool because I knew that a man would be ringing our doorbell any minute, and he would have a little baby with him. I don’t remember what my parents were saying, but I remember my mom’s rosy cheeks and the smile on her face. I remember feeling uneasy over the thought that a stranger would be coming into our house, and the minute the doorbell rang, my parents ran to do the door but I stayed right in my spot, under the stool. In walked this man carrying a tiny little baby in a car seat. He walked into our family room, put the carseat down and my mom said, “Emily, come meet your brother!” and the second I laid eyes on his face, I became instantly protective over him… something that would never go away. Immediately I wanted this strange man out of our house and absolutely did not want him touching my brother. I don’t know if I ever said anything to the man, but I do remember coming out from under the stool and thinking that I should be mean to him… to make him leave. (Because clearly a 3 year old has that kind of power over a grown man, I know.) Even at such a young age, I remember that moment… that night… the Halloween I got a baby brother.
My brother was born on October 29th and brought to our home on Halloween night 🙂 This “man” mentioned in my memory above was the attorney who helped my parents adopt my brother, and this baby would be the greatest gift of my childhood life – even if I didn’t always know it back then, I know it now. It’s true when I say I felt protective over him within seconds of learning that he was “mine,” and I still feel this way today. It wouldn’t have mattered if he was adopted or not – he was and will always be my baby brother.
Growing up, I learned that family has nothing to do with sharing the same “blood and genes”… family is in fact so much deeper than that. The bond of family is something that lies deep within the soul, and the bond between siblings is so, so many things – it’s playing Legos together for hours, and watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Hook on repeat. It’s dressing him up in all of your favorite dresses, making him drink tea with you and calling him ‘Sarah.’ (Sorry, bud.) It’s being able to make fun of your parents together, but unfriending anyone else who ever tried to. It’s the inside joke glances to one another during big family get togethers, and the sharing of sympathy when one of you gets grounded. It’s being able to be your dorkiest around this person, knowing that even though you’ll totally make fun of each other, you each probably totally get each other too.
It’s driving to school together and ramp-jumping the car on an old country road when no one is looking (true story) (sorry, dad – it wasn’t a raccoon… that was us.) It’s going through that phase when you seriously hate each other and find each other SO annoying… but if ANYONE hurts your sibling, it’s not okay and they’ll have to deal with you. It’s going through crazy and hilarious times, and also the seriously hard and painful times together as a family… but knowing deep down that never, no matter what, will the other person not be there for you… after all, your bond is forever.
Today my baby brother turns another year older, and I suppose this makes him not so much my “baby” brother anymore.