Born on the Fourth of July

– by Michael
Tomorrow is my little brother’s birthday.
This will make three out of my past four blog posts specific-family-member-oriented. We honestly didn’t plan it that way, I just happened to be “on deck” for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and now the Fourth of July.
Which just happens to be my little brother’s birthday.
So, if you’re tired of hearing me rave about how wonderful my family is…
Well…
You’re in luck!
David stole my thunder. I mean, here I was, a passably cute kid whose parents both worked with older kids, so I figured I was set for some good quality group-based attention. Then along comes this tow-headed bundle of adorability with his mischievous monkey smile and poof!
Grumble.
To make up for this intrusion, I became a truly awful older brother. I cringe to recall some of the truly asinine arguments David and I had growing up, over everything from Cheerios to whose skin was more like rubber, and whose was more like glue. (Most of these arguments took place in the family station wagon and, eventually, the family minivan on our way to school. It is amazing that my mother did not kill us both – thanks, Mom!)
We would play “war” in our expansive back-yard, choosing our nerf weapons before each battle. And by “choosing,” I mean “Michael chose the nerf bat for himself (along with a garbage-can lid for a shield) and the one-shot nerf popgun for David.”
I fed him to the neighbor’s dog, Honey, who was really just a friendly Husky but of whom David was terrified.
I once locked him in my dad’s car trunk. (This story has long been a source of contention between us – I insist that he was lying down, fake-sleeping, he insists that he was tying his shoes. In the trunk of a Dodge Intrepid. Neither was really a good choice on his part – not that closing the trunk on him was an exercise in great judgment, but still.)
We fought with fists, words, sticks, nerf weapons, whatever we could manage to throw at each other. We  vied for desserts, for attention, for the hell of it. We were always – always – at each others’ throats.
And David – every bit of it was my fault.
I’m sorry.
It amazes and humbles me, today, that my little brother is more or less my best friend. And yet it’s perfectly natural – he has, truly, seen me at my worst, my petulant, greedy worst, and loves me regardless. That is the very definition of the best in friendship.
Happy birthday, Dave – and just this once, I’ll concede: the fireworks are all for you.

2 comments

  1. Thanks big brother for all the wonderful (and not so wonderful) memories from the past 27 years. Had I to do them over again, I wouldn't in a million years change a thing.

    For the record, I was sitting in the trunk of dad's car tying my shoes while we were playing basketball because it was open and provided a nice shaded seat…

    I also got the dinky Nerf bow and arrow (and yes, there was only one arrow) that couldn't hit the broad side of a barn from point blank range…

    I don't remember Honey (I guess I blocked that traumatic memory out pretty well), but I do remember a Zeus!

    I also remember the great memories of playing Hero Quest and Omega Virus with you, until you got too old and cool to play board games with your little brother. Then we out grew that and you took to slaughtering me in Risk… I have yet to win a game, and I'm craving a rematch…

    I remember when we rediscovered our friendship thanks to that amazing old grey tank you drove when you turned 16. Thanks Sherman and thanks mom and dad for forcing Michael to drive me around, it was quite a clever plan and it worked to perfection.

    I remember how amazing it felt to be included by you and your friends from high school. It made my day every time I was invited me to hang out with all of you, and gave that nerdy middle school kid enough confidence to believe in himself.

    I remember how honored and humbled I was to be asked to be your best man in your wedding. Being a part of that special day is something I will always cherish, and I look forward to repaying the favor one day.

    Wow, this kinda went farther than I intended, but still… You are the best big brother and friend any younger brother could ask for. Thanks for putting up with me and helping to make me into the man I am today. I guess I'll share my fireworks with you this year, since you were so nice…

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