We can all be better and believe it or not, it can be easy. I have found the answer and would love to see all of my friends and followers find it as well. As we change for the better, so will those who we come in contact frequently. Feel free to send them here as well, since I am sure that when you see the change in your own life you will want the same for those that you love. That is, after all, why I started this blog!
Today is October 31st even though for the purpose of organization of this blog it will be dated otherwise. For many people October 31st means costumes and candy and haunted houses. It used to for me as well until October 31st of 1986. Other than the day my daughter was born, that day in 1986 is the best day of my life. (This would probably be a good time to mention that going to Jimmy Rollin's BaseBowl charity event follows right up in third place but I am sure that doesn't surprise anyone!) So this is where I tell you the story of how October 31st became so much more than Halloween to me!
I had a brother. He was born when I was 15 months old. He was mine and as far as I could remember, he always had been. Alison and Jarrod. Jarrod and Alison. He was part of my identity. I, obviously, did not remember a time before he was my brother. It was just the two of us and Mommy for awhile after Dad "moved". Then one day when I was 7 and Jarrod was 6, mom told us that she was going to have a baby. I would love to detail how I felt at that exact moment but I really do not remember those details. (Recalling a story from 25 years ago sure does have a way of making you feel old.) I do remember though, very clearly in fact, that I wanted a sister. Anyone who knows Jarrod would understand my disinterest in anything to do with having another brother! Anyone who knows Jarrod would know that I was only half joking in that last statement. It makes me feel a tiny bit better knowing that Jarrod didn't want another sister either. Then months later, I am going to guess around August or September, Jarrod and I spent hours in the front yard playing with his Tonka trucks in the dirt. (That was probably the last time Jarrod and I ever "played nicely together" for any length of time.) By the end of that day of play without fighting, we both had a little secret to tell Mommy. Jarrod decided that he was okay with having a sister and I realized that maybe another brother wasn't the end of the world. I actually wanted another brother. I decided that moving from the bigger bedroom to the smaller one by myself could be a big adventure. Although no one, not even Mom, knew yet the gender of the new baby, everyone should have known that I always win. ;)
So it was October 31st of 1986. I am sure we both woke up excited that it was the day we got to go Trick or Treating. I am sure we both had costumes and close to sure that they were completely awesome and handmade by Mom. We always had cool handmade costumes and that could be why I am so intent on making Lex's costumes now. We went to school like any other day but after school it got kind of weird. Instead of going home, we got picked up by Mom Mom Annie. Mommy was having a baby!!! I cannot remember going to collect candy that year at all! I am sure we did but also sure that the excitement of getting candy could never compare to the excitement of getting a baby! And then came the news. It was a boy!! Joshua Stephen had joined our family. I could have never imagined that day just how much that little boy would affect my life. Never in my wildest dreams could I ever have fathomed what a special young man that little baby would become or the extent to which I would be proud of him! Looking at that baby boy, I would have never guessed that he would wind up being one of my very best friends. The next day when we went to the hospital to see Mom and Joshua, I thought he was cuter than any doll I had ever owned and I was excited that I would be able to hold him all the time once he came home. At 8 years old, I had my own real life baby doll to play with. I thought that made me just the luckiest girl ever. As the years have gone by, not much has changed but these views have certainly evolved. Josh is quite possibly more of a doll than he ever was as a baby. The fun I have playing with him has reached all new levels. It helps that he is potty trained. One thing hasn't changed though....I am still the luckiest girl ever!
As with all siblings, we had our times when we weren't as close. Most of that was due to my being older and moving out and having a baby. Not willing to take all the blame though, I will gently remind Josh that for some reason having a big sister around wasn't always considered to be the best way in which to aquire the coolest~kid~in~school award. Luckily, as you manuever your way through life and all of its ups and downs, you figure out that growing up under the same roof does not eliminate the ability to devolop a close friendship. I am not sure if it was the unexpectated death of our mother, our shared ability to resemble black sheep, or our similar views and attitudes on so many various topics, but during the last five years our need for each other has significantly greatened. When taking a trip, it is each other that we check in with when we have arrived. Major events are quickly discussed and assessed. I call for his opinion on things and he calls for mine. We share secrets and stories and on good nights, wine! We share a love for many of the same colorful (if you know what I mean) hang outs! I cannot begin to communicate how proud I am of him for what he has overcome and his continuous steps toward the end goal he has envisioned. His non willingness to waiver on what he believes and how he feels about things just to appease others is quite comparable to my own and this doesn't make us stubborn or hardheaded, . but rather certain of our beliefs and willing to defend them regardless of resistance.
I think I have made it quite clear why today is so much more my brother's birthday than it will ever be Halloween. No amount of chocolate could ever compare to a Pickle Rootie. No amount of hay could be more of a comfort than the love of my Joshie. I have yet to see a haunted house scarier than the thought of not being able to share the ups and downs of life with my Lil One. The best witch's brew ever, could never hold a candle to the glasses of wine we share. No costume could ever disguise or mask the importance he holds in my life!
It breaks my heart that I was unable to make it there this weekend for a surprise visit. If there was any way, I would have been there. While I know that you would have enjoyed a visit, I also know that you completely understands my inability to do so. I am pretty sure that working on a blog post all night long has to have some kind of excitement value. And the fact that you now have some editor's responsibilities will make it feel like you are working with me on this birthday! Right??!? I hope this post serves as a reminder that you can read over and over again of how much I love you and how much I value the friendship that we share! I am proud of you beyond words for all you have become and all you have yet to be. There is no doubt in my mind that you will achieve every goal you have set for yourself. I thank you for your support when I have needed someone to lean on. I thank you for sharing your hopes and dreams and secrets with me and allowing me to do the same. There is no doubt that there is a perfect brother...I am just glad that I get to call him mine! I hope that you have a wonderful day full of laughter and happiness! I cannot wait to celebrate with you, but then when have we ever needed a reason to celebrate? I love you and I promise to make it up there soon. Now get to editing! :)
Sibling relationships - and 80 percent of Americans have at least one - outlast marriages, survive the death of parents, resurface after quarrels that would sink any friendship. They flourish in a thousand incarnations of closeness and distance, warmth, loyalty and distrust. ~Erica E. Goode, "The Secret World of Siblings," U.S. News & World Report
"Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero". ~Marc Brown
~ This picture is one of my favorites everrrr. That's how we roll!! ~