February 4th, 2011- and February 4th 1980

Twice a month, after I work a weekend, I get a half day on the Thursday after.  I work 2-6, which is smack dab in the middle of the day, and if I took Simon to the sitter just before I go to work, his nap schedule would get all “gee-wonkied” (to quote a friend of mine). So, the sitter suggested that I bring him by around noon on those days, so he can get his normal routine there. And bonus- I get an hour to myself. Sometimes Gabe comes home for lunch and we have some daytime facetime together sans baby. Sometimes I run errands. Sometimes I go to the gym (okay ONCE I went to the gym). Anyhow, the 3 hours of solitude I get fill me with both incredible guilt and gratitude. Solitude. The time ticks slowly by during these hours my best friend Simon isn’t around.

This February 4th, 2011- my son is 18 months old. Though I will go on to say how grown up he is, he is still very much a baby. Developmentally speaking, children at this age start to appreciate hugs and physical affection more than they previously did. Some days I can convince Simon to give ME a kiss instead of the kitties and “goggies” he sees in books.  He will now snuggle with us as we watch his favorite DVDs, or he’ll sit on my lap as we read books. This age is so fun, but he is still very much a baby. I suppose he’ll always be my baby.

At any rate, on February 4th, 1980- I was 18 months (and 1 day) old. And my life changed forever, because my mom had my brother Eric.

I think my face says it all here.

And suddenly I had a new best friend, and don’t remember my life before he was in it.

It makes me wonder lots of things. Things like, HOW IN THE WORLD DID MY MOM HAVE TWO BABIES SO CLOSE TOGETHER WITHOUT LOSING IT. And also, “Perhaps she DID lose it.” hehe. I also realize that I probably haven’t traumatized Simon yet, since I don’t remember anything about my life before 18 months old.

But my brother Eric, he’s the best. Truly. He’s one of those people who just tries to do good, and almost always succeeds. He was in the Marine Corps, he went to Iraq.

He married the sweetest girl a person could meet. The first time I met her, he told me he thought she was “the one”. I thought he was crazy and thinking too fast, and of course he was right. She is perfect for him. I don’t know anyone else who would handle him like she does. They are in the best kind of love. Now they’re expecting their own baby, and words can’t quite describe the elation I feel in anticipation of my niece or nephew’s arrival. Come July I’ll be able to hug and squeeze and kiss this baby the way I used to do to my brother when we were little kids.

One of my earliest memories of my brother is of watching him get his cracked open in our living room on McCarley Drive. He was walking (sneaking) behind my dad as my dad did bicep curls (ever the athletic dad) in front of the television. I remember being very scared that he was hurt. I thought his brains were seeping out of his skull. They weren’t.

I also remember (vaguely) my mom freaking out because he had eaten a bunch of Monchichi vitamins- the chewable ones. I remember playing with him…and only him. And then we had another best friend (Brett) born in March of ’82, and finally Kim came in ’84, and my parents must have figured out what kept getting them pregnant. Now it’s a party wherever we all are, and it’s awesome.

But it started with just me and Eric. My first best friend, the one who always asked me what he should wear in the morning before school. The one who fought with me over who got to drive the car. The one who lived in my basement behind the furnace when we were in our early 20s and trying to figure out what adulthood was all about. He was the one who drove me the most crazy, and the one who would snuggle with me until snuggling with your sister was no longer “cool”.

I try to imagine what it would be like if I brought Simon home a little sister on February 4th 2011 and I just can’t imagine it. I can’t fathom how it would all work, though I know it is possible, and it does work for many many people.

seeing Simon for the first time.

And I’m so glad I have a brother who’s so close in age to me. Even though we don’t see to eye to eye on most things, we end every conversation with I Love You.

I wish him the happiest 31st birthday today, on February 4th, 2011.

And a very happy HALF birthday to my boy, my Simon, who is 18 months old on this February 4th.  Your letter will come soon, son.

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