Monday, May 17, 2010

Oh brother!

On Thursday my brother and his wife are coming to visit. It will be their first time visiting us in Houston and we are extremely excited to show them around! It will also be the first time they meet Aidan! I love introducing him to new people; I'm so proud of him I feel like I may burst whenever I present his chubby little cheeks and contagious smile to someone. :)

While in town we will be seeing Jimmy Buffet *swoon* in concert, taking them down to Galveston for shopping and a trip to the Coastal Living Idea House, treating them to lunch at The Flying Saucer (one of our favorite restaurants downtown) and hanging out on our back patio (depending on how awful the humidity is) smoking some ribs and a whole chicken. It will be a whirlwind of a long weekend, but lots of fun!

My brother and I have a special relationship. Even though he is 14 years older we have always connected, ever since I was a little girl. When I was 5 I was riding with him in a go-kart my dad had built. I was in front, leaning up on the steering wheel as he maneuvered it around the hilly parking lot of the church next door. He asked me if I wanted to drive. Of course! I took the wheel, cut it too soon and drove us straight into a tree. I permanently broke the axle on the go-kart and it was never driven again. My sister Elizabeth ran home screaming at the top of her lungs that I was dead. I was fine, but that tree still bears the mark from my miscalculation to this day. I remember that when I was 8 years old he moved away to Florida. My whole family (remember, I have 6 siblings!) piled into our minivan to follow him to the airport. Since this was WAAAAY before 9/11, we were able to not only see him off at the gate, we were all allowed to board the plane, check out the cockpit and meet the pilot! It was so upset to see him go. I cried the whole way home from the airport and couldn't stop for another week. Luckily, he was only gone for about a year.

I loved having him close by, I always felt safer knowing he was only a car ride away. We used to have sleep overs at his apartment, staying up late, playing his big arcade video games, watching movies and eating junk food. He was not your typical older brother. I mean, what guy in his 20s wants to hang out with his pre-adolescent little sister? He sure did!

Now, don't get the impression that my brother is some loser. No way. He is the guy that everybody wants to talk to. The one who for some reason always ends up being the life of the party, the one people want to be around because his charisma seems to be almost contagious. He is the guy that the other guys want to be friends with and that the girls want to date. Energetic, handsome, generous, effervescent, and downright fun! I miss him.

This is the man who taught me how to drive stick when I was 15 (very unsuccessfully at first) and who introduced me to Jimmy Buffett when I was 16. He showed me how to make scrambled eggs when I was 9 and doused me with Sun-In when I was 14. (What a mistake that was!) He is the one who I needed comfort from the most when my grandfather passed away 5 years ago. I think of so many things that have happened in my life who shape who I am today, and for many of them he played a role, sometimes big sometimes small.

When I was in my early 20s I was going to college about 3 hours away from him. Almost every other weekend I would drive up to his house to spend time with him. This is when we were closet. Thick as thieves. We'd talk on the phone about everything: relationships, work, school, family, you name it. At the time he lived in a little house with his first wife. They loved spending time outdoors, canoeing, horseback riding, bike riding, hiking. It was great for me to get away up to their house and just decompress. It was a very stressful time in my life with school and work. I needed him and he knew it.

Time passed, his marriage ended, we both moved around a bit. But we still always managed to keep in touch. Now I'm 28 and he's 42. He is remarried to a wonderful girl, who is also named
Emily, as it happens. She's perfect for him. His life has changed. They are very prominent in the social scene in their town. He is on the board for the American Cancer Society, belongs to a country club and lives a much more fast-paced life than before. But he is the same person. I am a new mother and live 1400 miles away. Granted, we don't talk as much on the phone anymore. But our connection has never wavered. I know he will always be there for me and me for him. His opinions, advice, love and guidance mean the world to me. I always know that I will be able to trust him to tell me the truth, to steer me in the right direction.

Even though we live far away and our conversations are fewer than ever, he is in my heart. Nobody can ever replace him, for I will never have another big brother and I would never want anybody other than him.

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