The girls and I are spending Easter with my brother. You remember him...the one who used to hold me down and spit into my face.
I just spent a couple of days visiting my little brother. Although he’s now 45 years old, he will always be our little “garcon.”
He’s the youngest of three – the son my parents were thrilled to finally conceive. We were living in the south of France, while my father served as a JAG officer. When he was born, the nurse in attendance announced to my mother (who spoke not a WORD of French) “C'est un garçon ! Un grand garçon!” Which I’m pretty sure means “big boy!” For years to follow my older sister and I would relentlessly tease “garcon” by insisting that the French “gendarmerie” were going to come for him when he was 21 to take him back to France.
This is the brother who also sold “peeks” into the bathroom keyhole when my sister and I were taking baths in our teens. He always received more money when my sister was the star. (She was more “blessed” than I.)
This is the brother who tried to teach our large white rabbit “Snowflake” to climb a tree when he was in kindergarten. Unfortunately for the rabbit, he didn’t give up.
This is the brother who put his arm through a glass door during a fourth of July party not long after Snowflake’s Memorial Service.
This is the brother who buried his father’s ANTIQUE TOOLS (that he’d inherited from HIS father) in our quite expansive back yard. Many were not recovered. In fact, I don’t think they found ANY of them.
This is the brother that would hide his poopy underwear in the closet so that our mother wouldn’t know he was pooping his pants in second grade. Unfortunately, the smell almost KILLED her one day when she attempted to clean said closet. It took a fifth of vodka to revive her.
This is the boy who would catch tons of fish in the backyard canal when we lived in Florida, and release them into our pool. (Along with the snakes, baby snapping turtles and objects we have YET to name.)
This is also the young man who lost his father when he was 14, and his mother when he was 21.
Brother - I am so very sorry that K. and I were not there to guide you through your grief. I was wallowing in my own sorrow and trying to find my way back after being cast adrift on that lonely sea of heartbreak. I didn’t even realize that I was not the only boat out there.
I love you more than words can say – and I hope you take comfort in the fact that mom and dad are surely proud of the man you have become. K. and I are very proud.
You are an incredible man, and yet when I look at you, you know who I see.
The boy who killed Snowflake.
(And today he is wrapping me in love, and little bit of "kick my ass." And I love him like a brother.)