First Christmas with my little brother.I wasn't a child who loved dolls, but mom picked this out at Stedmans a five and dime on Lonsdale. I remember her oohing and awing over it. I was five, and much preferred the little doll sitting next to me. Hard to believe I would get him up out of his crib, feed and change him so mom could sleep in. But I did! I remember it too! The doll in my lap soon became prey to my little girl hairdressing skills with a very chopped hair cut that may even be fashionable today! She was soon abandoned for a teddy bear which I love to this day. That purple sweater was a favored Christmas gift from my favorite Aunt.
As you can see I was mesmerized with adoration for him! I still am!
As you can see I was mesmerized with adoration for him! I still am!
With mom and dad working full time we spent countless hours together. Their busy social life left him in my care a lot. He was a going concern, a busy little boy who played hard but never hesitated to give me a big hug. Soon we became allies, hiding the belt from our mom when she went on a rampage.
There are no words to describe how much I hated the outdated hand me downs I was forced to wear. Pleated skirts were my nemesis, it was fruitless to argue with my feisty mother. My knee socks bought on dollar forty nine day either slipped to my ankles, or were splashed with mud on the five mile trek to school, causing me constant childhood distress. The only thing that brought me happiness during those years of being teased was that little guy standing right next to me! That was a Saturday, mom was at work, so dad took us to Stanley Park. It was a total surprise that turned out to be quite a memorable day! It was always a treat to go places alone with dad. He was so easy going.
Everyone thought I was sixteen, but I was only eleven. Another ugly outfit outdated by seven years, rolled up at the waist, an attempt to fit in. Desperately trying to mirror the current style, a calico cotton mini skirt, worn by most of the other girls. My school photo from that year I looked like the teacher, or some big retard, at least that's what my dad waited to say when I was an adult. It was very humorous at the time, albeit socially unacceptable now, it garnered a huge laugh at the time. I really did look odd compared to the other students whom I towered over. I was really mature, physically and mentally! I was heavy, but trust me the attempt to hide my physical assets made me look even larger than I was.
My brother attended his first day of school with a broken leg, a precursor for his rough elementary years.For years he thought god had a hand in punishing him with a broken leg because he disobeyed mom.
We spent loads of time together riding bikes, walking, running through the sprinkler, watching television. Even back then we had intimate conversations. I was constantly called to the principals office to retrieve him from a schoolyard fight. It was a regular occurrence. The kids instigated his anger by teasing him about things that transpired in class. I let him hang out with my gang on the school grounds. They liked him, he felt important hanging with the older crowd. He often reminds me how kind I was to him back then. But I remember once tricking him into trying hot mustard...just a taste.
At twelve I won a black and white television selling the most chocolate bars in the school. I had an entourage of kids in the neighborhood who'd knock on my door and ask me to play. Together we sold bars. Afterward I took them to the store and bought them treats with my babysitting money. I let my brother watch that television, in my room whenever he wanted. He reminds me how much he loved that I always allowed him in my room, wishing his kids were the same.
Five years later I got married leaving him sadly behind. It's only as a grown up, searching for photos that I realize I probably let him down back then. At twelve he became an only child. A few years later mom and dad were gallivanting to the states every weekend to golf, leaving him home alone! All our relatives were near by, still I can't imagine leaving my fourteen year old on their own for the weekend!
When he became of age we could go to the bar together once in a while. I felt so proud, that he was never embarrassed to dance with me. After all it was me who taught him to dance all those nights home alone, skulking into the forbidden living room.
As a teen going through puberty he was homely. I can't even show any of those photos. Like a big puppy, lips and nose waiting for a face to grow into them! He used to put ice on his lips in the morning to diminish the swelling. Hard to believe now! Women loved him then, they still do. Seriously they still swoon! It helps that he entrances them with his sense of humor!
In the early eighties I tore ligaments in my foot when I slipped at work, I had a caste all Christmas. I always looked forward to spending Christmas day with my brother, opening gifts together like we did as children. There was a good ten years where we only saw each other on rare occasions, but there was always intimate conversation that kept us close even then! Sometimes that five year age difference made for a bit of a generation gap. With me being more of a maternal figure in his life.
Eight months pregnant this is last Christmas we spent with our dad. It was such an exciting time. But dad announced he had cancer which put a dark cloud over the holiday and my pregnancy. I always feared if I had a child someone would die. And it happened. That's why I shun my fears now! Ten weeks later our dad died of carcinoma of the esophagus, he was only 66. Five years later mom died of lung cancer at 66, we were orphaned at 30 and 35.
This is my very favorite photo of us. It doesn't show up very well, it's been rephotographed, then scanned. This meaningful photo was taken the first Christmas after a two year rift caused by an outside source. It was sad and ugly, basically our first fight ever. We've always argued out our difference but never fought. It was devastating for both of us, we counted on each other for those heartfelt talks as a lifeline to our childhood memories, our deceased parents. It's long behind us now, thrown into the archives, chalked up as lessons learned, absolutely forgiven. This was our new beginning.We beam with love as a tribute to our parents and everything they wanted us to be as siblings.
We have always lived completely different lifestyles. Me more spiritually aware, with him more physically oriented. I wanted to be appreciated from the inside out, where as he wanted to be admired from the outside in! Although we are so different, we are also very much alike. An extension of our parents, their customs, beliefs, talents and demeanor. The paradigm shifts as we age, with him taking on the roll as head of the family even though I'm older.
Overtime my passionate heady brother has mellowed out. Become more reflective, thoughtful, and spiritual. He seeks more balance, as do I.Less reactive to conflict with better boundaries I've become better understood. We now have similar wisdom born of pain. We are innately intuitive, have good common sense and raise our children different than we were raised, yet we keep many of the same traditions.
So when we connect on an authentic level, which is always hard in a crowd, we know what we have. A lifetime of love and trust bottled up as a good friend, someone to turn to in times of desperation or celebration.
Here we are on a dinner date a few weeks ago. It's imperative to schedule time together otherwise it doesn't happen enough. With him still raising school aged children our lifestyles conflict. Even though there are many extreme differences, I can tell you when we are alone together with no outside interference, we reminisce, reflect, evolve, nourish each others souls and it's pure bliss.