Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The Man He is Becoming
I was thirteen when he was born. I make jokes about it a lot. I can. I can laugh about how people thought he was mine. I can laugh about how having an infant in the house when you are thirteen is excellent birth control. I can laugh about how we were sibling only children. And I do.
But I can't explain the relationship we have. We've had our ups and downs. (There was a while when he thought that I was just exceptionally uncool and I could have lived without his preteen years.) But all in all, we have always been fairly close.
The thing about an age gap like ours is that it isn't typical of sibling relationships. I can't say we've ever really fought about anything in a sibling rivalry kind of way. And our relationship is in a constant state of flux. I've gone from babysitter to cool semi-adult to un-cool adult to whatever it is that I am now. And mostly, I think that now our relationship is closer to a normal sibling relationship than it ever has been.
What I have that most siblings don't, I think, is a grand sense of perspective. I can remember, vividly, his baby days. His Halloween costumes, his phases, his tiny smile and bright eyes (man, did that kid have bright, sparkly eyes). I can remember this because I was so much older.
I can remember being mad, angry, enraged on his behalf. I can remember crying for him. Laughing for him, being happy for him, proud of him, and that was just this week. And while I have to admit that my children have faults, that they are not perfect people, I don't have to do that for D. He is perfect and you better not try and tell me otherwise.
Seeing all this clearly, I can tell you that I am right now, at this moment, extremely proud of my baby brother.
This morning, my wittle brother, he of the Barney birthday party, he of the Fisher Price swing in the front yard, he of needing stitches at conservation camp, left for college. College. In a big city, in another state, in really, another universe. Because this is it, people. There is no more denying that he is growing up.
Tomorrow morning, he is going to wake up somewhere else. In an apartment with guys he doesn't know and he's going to go to a new place and learn something about his dream. And he's going to keep doing that until he's ready to go out and work in his dream. Like as in a real job. Not a summer job or an afterschool job, but as in a career.
Seeing my girl, my angel child (or demon child depending on how much sleep she's gotten and the day of the week) turn 6 this week has really driven home just how quickly the time flies. In just a couple of years, he'll be back here (we all hope and talk like it's a foregone conclusion and there really is no where else on earth to live) and working and building a real, live grown up life.
And I'm not sure that my heart (or my mom's) can handle it.
But regardless of my trauma, I can tell you this: I am so proud of him. So proud of his determination to follow this goal, so proud of his intelligence and his creativity, his ability and his eagerness to learn, so proud of his achievements. But I am also so very, very proud of the man that he is becoming.
So often I look at him and think, "Wow, he is a truly great kid and he is going to be just amazing when he grows up." I was so busy thinking about it, that I missed it happening.
Congratulations, D. And good luck.