Monday, June 4, 2012

He ain't heavy, he's my brother


My brother was born when I was 6. I was totally fine as an only child, but there was no sending him back.
My brother comes home June 4, 1983
To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. 
We live outside the touch of time.
~Clara Ortega


My brother used to wear superman and batman capes pinned to his clothes. He watched the Batman with Adam West over and over on VCR tapes. He also watched Police "Macademy," Moving Violations, and Revenge of the Nerds, on a loop. I wonder if my parents knew it said HAIR PIE.
1984
My brother used to say "funda funda funda TATS" for Thundercats and "oh FANKS" for thank you. He used to say "You know better - n- dat" when you did something he thought you shouldn't do. He used to subsist on poptarts and peanut butter and cheese sandwiches. He could sleep anywhere, anytime - he used to lay down on the ground at the Ground Round restaurant and fall asleep while everyone ate dinner.

Stephen's first day of kindergarten - 1988
My brother was big for his age. He was a gentle giant who was always nice to everyone. He had a good heart from the time he came into being. He always had friends over and collectively they made our house smell like outside and boy.

Being a savage with Patrick Dillon in 1992, and again in 2006 in college

My brother has helped me balance myself without knowing it. When our parents split up during my junior year in high school, we were plunged into a world where everything we knew was different overnight. Our relationship with each other was the only thing that remained the same. Being six years older than him, I looked out for him and in doing that, righted and steadied myself. As the Hindu proverb says, "Help your brother's boat across, and your own will reach the shore." My protective instinct for him is still fierce and probably always will be. At life's small and big moments, we will be there for each other, and that's a comfort not everyone has. At my college graduation, my stepmom snapped a photo of us walking around campus, and we've recreated the same walk at his high school and college graduation, and at my wedding. It's our thing that we do now in life's big moments.



My brother was only 12 when I went away to college. Every time I came home he was different and taller. He excelled in soccer, and received many accolades, including Gatorade Player of the Year,  NSCAA High School All-American, and Courier Times Player of the Year. He continued playing in college on a full scholarship, followed by a short stint playing for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. He went on to coach men's soccer at UCF in Florida before moving back home and getting his masters from Holy Family. He's made us proud and still does today as a history teacher and soccer coach.

Weirdly blond at Duquesne, signing autographs at the Riverhounds,  NHS Alumni game w/Sean in 2008
My brother has a lovely long-time girlfriend that I love. He is a pincher. He sends funny text messages. He yells "Not today, Lance," at serious bikers on the roadways. He mumbles and then gets annoyed when you ask him to repeat himself. He knows the fat man walks below. He let me ply him with my music and my movies when he was growing up and still likes a lot of them today.
Stephen & Aub

 Happy birthday to my brother Stephen, one of my favorite people on earth.


Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn
of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk. 
~Susan Scarf Merrell




6 comments:

  1. Beautiful! So glad you included that lovely picture of Stephen's face hair-do!
    Love all of my chickens to infinity and beyond!!!
    Your Momma!

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  2. Fabulous Blog. The children of my heart make me proud beyond words. L

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  3. Such a wonderful tribute! Happy Birthday to Stephen!

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Interestingly, today is the birthday of my brother, Dave. (My brother Steve was killed in a car accident in 1982... ). If I were to blog about Dave, he and my entire family will think I've lost my mind. My son Sean might be offended too, as his bday was yesterday. Hmmm..... This could be fun!
    This was a beautiful post.
    (I had to repost this because the blogsite tangled my sentences. WTH.

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