Growing up with two younger sisters (close in age) and a (baby) brother made for a frenzied, busy, loud household. We had the usual squabbles and jostlings - natural in a family with 4 kids within a six and a half years span, but we also had a lot of mischievous fun and adventures.
I remember that moment 43 years ago when my mom told us she was "expecting". By then I was quite familiar with the terminology and knew that I could look forward to the red smock top she would wear with the black turtleneck. My sisters and I hoped that this final addition to the family (confirmed by a conversation between my mom and her mom overheard from my station on the stairs) would be a brother.
Our wish was granted ... and the cherub faced, blue-eyed, baby brother with a crown of blonde curls grew to be our quiet anchor; the calm voice of reason; our Switzerland. With the six and a half year age difference between us, we had little to battle - with the exception of the tampon- throwing high jinx he pulled when I brought a new boy home OR the hidden tape recordings he would make from a strategically placed microphone under the couch where I sat with my boyfriend. Pesky little brother who really should've pursued a career in espionage.
Despite some of the typical little brother stuff, he grew into a generous, gentle spirited man with an off beat sense of humour who I am certain is loved by all who know him. He has a unique relationship with the mother of his son, and together they have dedicated themselves to the parenting and the well being of their son. It works for them. And it works for their son.
My brother always seemed comfortable in his skin -- even as a child. As a teen he and his pals seemed to outwardly delight in being anything but status quo. He has continued to be a man of conviction and is true to himself, comfortable in his choices. I have always respected him -- and that feeling has grown into outward admiration. I am not sure if being raised in a household of women has helped shape him in some way, or made him the sensitive person that he is but I can tell you that having him as a brother has been a gift to all of us.
As I grew into adulthood, I finally understood what my parents had meant ... the best gift they ever gave us - was each other. My sisters and brother are my built-in best friends; we are there for one another with open hearts and unconditional love.
So today on my grown up baby brother's birthday, I celebrate the gift that is him! And thanks mom and dad.