Wednesday, November 12, 2014

NWC Day 12: Sibs

Ah, the NaNoWriMo-ness of this daily writing challenge is settling in. I'm turning in day 12's post late because I forgot to write it yesterday. I'm glad to see that today's topic is about siblings. If I had to do much besides think about family, Netflix, chocolate, or how cold it is in my apartment, I'd be screwed.


Prompt #12: Do you have siblings? What are they like?

If you know me at all, you know I light up when I talk about my brother, David.

I've blogged about him before. It's the time of year when David Mania hits its fever pitch. I'll likely be somewhat insufferable until the end of the year. Unless you enjoy big sister smushiness. In that case, hang around!

It's my favorite time of year. November means my birthday and Thanksgiving, followed pretty quickly by Christmas, which is my favorite holiday now that I don't work in retail. (I'd go back, honestly, because hellooooo all the things Target sells, but I couldn't have said that in years past. I'm dreaming of sales fliers because I want a new electric blanket and some pillows. And picture frames. Candles. Laundry hampers! Foo. Warm in here.)

Life with David wasn't always perfect, as you might imagine. He was my little brother and of course a source of irritation during sleepovers I had with friends in high school, or when I was 20 and ready to go out and he hadn't yet returned with the car we shared.

But now we're adults (or at least pretending to be) and we're friends. I can't believe he'll soon be 39 (much as I can't believe I've almost completed my first year of my 40s).

I find myself jealous of him (in the best way, if that makes any sense). He knew when he was a kid what he wanted to be when he grew up and now he's a chef. A really talented chef and that's not just familial pride talking. I have no recollection of what I wanted to be (outside of normal little girl fantasies like growing up to be a ballerina or a pony). I'm a writer and artist now and on the verge, it feels, of attaining some real recognition for what I love to do. (It's already begun, honestly. It's just happening more often and surprising me less.) The past few years have been a bit of a struggle and it's hard not to compare myself to others when I'm feeling low or unsuccessful, and that includes comparing myself to David. We were raised by the same parents. How come I'm not on a sunny island and spending my days cooking and surfing? Other than the fact that airplane turbulence makes me want to pee on myself, I don't have much patience for cooking, and I have an intense shark phobia, I mean.

I know we're very different people, despite being from the same family. What works for him doesn't necessarily work for me and vice versa. All I really know is that he's a nice guy. He's good at giving me advice and I feel like I'd want to be friends with him if I didn't already know him.

Of course he'll always be the little kid I went exploring with when we lived in Santa Fe. He'd collect tadpoles and I'd make mud pies. We rode our bikes, played with our friends, and sunbathed on the patio. I once wrapped him in a comforter like a burrito, bopped him on the head with a throw pillow, and announced we had just invented a game called Toothpaste. He went along with it. (And then television was invented!)

We went with our dad to a paint store and picked out the most nauseating shade of pink (like Pepto on crack) for our clubhouse. I clearly remember Dad, pained, asking, "Are you SURE?" before the guy mixed up a gallon of fluorescent swill. I don't know what we were thinking, but we loved it. I remember learning the word CENSORED and using it to identify our clubhouse as a kids-only space. Even though it had no doors or windows. And my need to learn about the intricacies of the English language.

David was there through my adolescence, a time when I gained a seemingly exponential amount of weight. I remember the day we spent at an amusement park and his gentle suggestion that I eat something besides just ice cream, but I wasn't listening. (Hearing, yes, but not listening.)

It doesn't seem possible that he's lived out of state since I was 25. We've experienced each other getting older and changing, one year at a time during a 10-day visit each winter. When we Skype, we inevitably talk about getting older, mostly in incredulous tones familiar to anyone who's suddenly affected by the cold or makes an unavoidable grunting noise when getting out of a chair. He's begun referencing encroaching hair loss and I find myself dumbfounded. My little brother is talking about balding? Where's the hidden camera?

I'm looking forward to David's visit as much as I am the future. In a few years, we'll both be in our 40s, which feels like a joke awaiting a punchline. Perhaps I'll be living in a place where polar vortex is just a phrase in the dictionary and not the foot of snow waiting to be cleared off my car. Maybe I'll be wrapping up an interview with Oprah about my latest book or preparing to jet off to Spain (sigh... again). Maybe David will be taping his cooking show debut or opening the doors to his restaurant. Whatever the case, it'll be the time of year when the wheel turns and we move forward in age, hopefully in wisdom, and add to all the truths we know about each other.

1 comment:

Phoenix said...

I love how much you and your brother love each other. I wish I had that with Kristopher.