Let me start by describing my family just a bit. There are six of us kids. Four are older than me, and one is younger. (You all know her pretty well). My youngest sister is 26, and my oldest brother is turning 40 today! So, there’s a pretty big age range. In honor of my brother’s birthday, I thought I’d share just a little bit about him (posts on my other siblings will follow — I promise, she says to the other siblings feeling left out).
My oldest brother, C, is 10 years older than me. And he’s always scared me just a little bit. With a 10-year age difference, we obviously didn’t spend much time together while we were growing up other than when I was terrorizing him as the annoying baby sister or he was traumatizing me as the ridiculously strict babysitter. Plus, he used to be a very stoic man who seldom smiled. And, when he did, it was either superbly fake and overdone or somewhat evil. And, quite frankly, usually involved a middle finger.
A lot of things in our lives lead us down very different paths and took us in completely opposite directions — literally and figuratively. He’s a single dad with three kids and an ex-wife who is completely out of the picture (which turned out to be a good thing, as difficult as it has made his family’s life); I’m a single woman with no one depending on me except myself. Yet, somehow, he and I became close. Very close. It’s almost like I woke up as a grown-up friend with this super-cool guy I didn’t even know existed.
We’ve helped each other with relationship issues, school, financial concerns, familial troubles. You name it and we’ve been there for each other. He became one of my very best friends. And he knew things about my life I’d not shared with anyone. Soon enough, he shared his real smile with me — and I knew we were friends. Like for real, really friends.
Before he started dating his current girlfriend and before I was dating Amor No More, we used to have somewhat regular phone conversations, and my cellphone bill was filled with pages of texts with him.
So, our relationship has changed quite a bit over the past, oh, two years or so. We don’t talk as much as we used to, and we certainly don’t see as much of each other as we used to. But I still count him as one of my closest friends, and I know I can turn to him whenever I need anything — even if it’s just to share a laugh or whine just the teensiest bit. Even on my darkest days, I know that if I need a smile and he’s available for a quick chat, that smile will be found.
He’s also been very quietly supportive of my weight-loss efforts. Never one to get too emotionally invested in something or show his true feelings, my brother doesn’t react to much. But I will always, always remember the day I was standing in my mom’s kitchen and my brother walked out, did a double take and said, “Well, hey-ya Slim!” It honestly made my day and was, quite possibly, one of the best compliments I’ve received on this entire journey.
And, recently when we were out to lunch together, as we were looking at the menus, he turns to me and says “So, Skinny, how much more weight are you planning on losing?” Some might find this offensive. Some might call him a buttinski. But, coming from him, it was a compliment and an acknowledgment of all of the hard work I’ve put in. It was his way of saying “Good job. Way to go.” And it made my day. Well, that and the delicious food we ate.
I don’t know if he realizes how much his support and friendship have meant to me over the past few years. I don’t know if he knows that it was his strength and encouragement that got me through a lot of difficult nights. And I don’t know if he is aware of how much I admire him for all he’s done as a father, a man, a brother, a son, a friend.
I think it’s time I tell him.