This is so very true. And I am here today because of my two crazier, older brothers, who roughed me up and taught me how to be tough. Because of them, I know how to fight.. and I’m fighting pretty darn well right about now, when it counts most, and I sure hope I’m makin’ them proud.
Today is my oldest brother’s birthday, (Happy Happy Birthday, Beau! or as my kiddos and al the cousins say, “Uncy Beau”) and just 6 weeks after that we’ll be singing Happy b-day to my middle brotha! (So… Happy early B-day Jean!! / “Uncy Jean”!!) B-days being so close together, I figured I’d give a little shout out to both of my brothers who really did much to shape me into the gal I am today.
Yup, I’m that one girl. You taught me to be her. It’s your fault.
That’s the same reason why you complained that my shoes stunk when I took them off in the car as a kid since I never wore socks (Heck, I rarely wore shoes, so why wear socks?). ‘Twas the same reason that you said my finger nails were always dirty, and my “Jamz” had holes in them. Hangin’ with the boys meant climbin’ trees with to scope out sweet spots for mud-bomb attacks on passersby and building your own forts in the woods, only to have your head raided for ticks with tweezers and match sticks at night. Ugh. (But so worth it) Any readers still with me, or did I just lose a few? Sorry, it just got real for a moment there!
My brothers you see, were just 2 years apart, yet there was an 8 year gap before I was born, and I desperately wanted to be in their “clique”. They had their own language at the dinner table. They could finish each other’s sentences. They were so crazy funny that your stomach hurt from laughing whether or not you had any idea what they even said, but the sound effects and faces that they were making were enough to make you fall off of your chair. Seriously. I begged to be a part of their daily/weekly home movies that they made with their friends, and as long as I just “stayed cool”, I sometimes got to be in the background, help squirt the ketchup blood, or ride in the hatchback of the civic while spinning donuts for the peel out stunts or some other super cool scene. No matter what it was… it was always…. “epic” in my eyes!
I hung on to their every word. I mean it. EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. They rambled off
complaints prophetic know how that I clearly needed to file away for later. For example: When they came off of the school bus: “When you grow up, don’t move your lips too much when you’re old enough to read on a bus one days, because it’ll make your mouth make weird sounds and it’ll be annoying.” Check! Added to list when figuring out that darned reading and phonics thing. This was going to get complicated.
Or better yet… the whole boys and girls and dating thing. Oy! Boy did my file get full there, particularly after coming home from their dates or school dances, or watching movies, or really anything that had to do with the opposite sex…. all opportunities to teach me what to do and not to do!
“Don’t be a bow head”; “Don’t wear too much makeup or perfume.. & when guys go to pick you up for a date, they hoped that you would look kinda like the same girl that they asked out, ‘cuz they liked THAT girl”; “Don’t giggle all the time unless you’re actually laughing at a joke, pay attention, don’t be stupid”;
and my personal favorite…
“Don’t look in wedding magazines unless you have a ring on your finger” (Told to me in the old Delchamps magazine rack aisle by my middle brother, Jean,) “Why”, I asked (at the ripe age of around 7)…. “Because they’re filled with poisoned bombs that will detonate and explode in your face unless you have an engagement ring on. It’s very serious,” He says over his shoulder non-chalantly as he flips through a Sports Illustrated magazine now that his work is done and his sister is protected form marriage gleeflully dreaming about marriage too soon. I slowly stepped backward away from the racks.
My brothers, they really do love me. I carried a heavy burden of the many files of “dos and don’ts” in my brain, that I really did my best to stick to, whether or not I realized it, although they never realized it or asked me to do so. It was subconsciously written on my soul. They were raising me, whether they knew it, like it, or not. And as much as I put up a fuss about them being “punks” and what not, I loved them and thought they were the absolute coolest and greatest guys in the world. THE WORLD.
If one was throwing bean bags on me and sitting on me while watching Transformers (Ahem… Jean?)
The other was feeding me Tabasco sandwiches and “Light n Crunchy” dog food mixed in my after school snack
Yet, if one… even ONE other person outside of our little family circle had the slightest thought of jumping in on that action, they had another thing comin. No can do. I’ll never forget when boys started calling for me. Oh boy.. oh boy! My brothers paced the room figuring out what they were gonna do then next time the phone rang. They had it all planned out, plotting and scheming their move. Well sure enough, it did. Jean had no quams about picking it up giving it a good “LOOK PAL, IT’S A LITTLE LATE!” and slamming that phone down with now chance for a message, a hello, or even any idea of who it was. It could have been a girl, It could have been a relative. He didn’t care. He was on a mission. The mission…. nobody talks to HIS SISTER!!!!!
Just the way things worked out, at different portions of my high school years, a different brother was able to be there, living near and teaching locally or even living in our apartment right next door… once again keeping a lookout on my dating situation and giving the other brother the scoop and the low down. Detectives near and far. Always on the Case. ALWAYS (my teenage self still eye rolling, but secretly loving it).
We’re all grown up, and Jean has now married his beautiful wife, Janice, and conned her into moving their 5 kiddo-beautiful genius clan down from Canada to raise them with my 5 kiddo-few screws loose clan-tastrophe that we love cuz their uniquely cute and special. YAY!!!! And I thank God every day for the gift of raising our kids together. My brother, Jean, is such an amazing father and husband that it brings me to tears. He has really taken the prayers of God the father and shaped himself into everything that He hoped he could be as a present, loving, giving, understanding, AND FUNNY ( I have to add…. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LAUGHING THROUGH THIS WHOLE FIGURING OUT PARENTING THING WITH YOU!!! I truly don’t think I could do this without you), father and husband. I’m beyond impressed. It’s VERY cool to see. GOD IS GOOD.
As for my oldest brother, Beau, giver of the name BUNA!!! Also known to so many of you as “Fr.Beau”. There’s so much to say, yet it’s so hard to say it all. You, too have married the love of your life. You’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for God. You have a gift for service that has been in you since childhood and a desire to help always, even since you struggled as to which stuffed animal to leave behind for family trips when you felt bad for the others until slowly but surely all clothes were emptied from the Snoopy suitcase, only to pack up Cookie Monster and all the rest of the gang, figuring you’d rather wear the clothes on your back all week rather than deal with the guilt of leaving them behind. “No man left behind”! When you grew up you wanted to be a gas attendant, a rock star, a brain surgeon, a teacher, an actor, a garbage man, a father, and …. finally, a priest. Well, as a priest, you’re doing it all. You’re preaching, teaching, healing, singing praise, helping us to get rid of our garbage, and bringing us the holy spirit fuel that we need and leading us as father and leader for so many, guiding and leading flocks to the church. But you do so with such humility. Not afraid to admit weakness, not afraid to sho us all how to seek and ask forgiveness and be there to foster that as the most powerful confessor I know, often saying, “We fall, sometimes we fall hard, but God asks us to get back up. A true follower of Christ gets back up and carries his cross again.” You’ve helped me many times to get back up again. And you’ve helped me TO LAUGH!!!! And you’ve reminded me of one of my happiest places, my go-to place for prayer… singing. Singing is praying twice, right? YOU are truly my favorite Praise and Worship LEADER EVER and I don’t think I’m being biased!
Just this January all three of us, got to sing together just before my surgery. Heaven!
…and the years between us seem like nothing at all.
I mean, check it out…. I made it! I’ve finally arrived to the cool club where we’re all the best of friends. I knew it. I knew you loved me. I mean.. of course you loved me. You had to, because MOM SAID you had to. But you didn’t have to LIKE me.
And now I’m pretty sure you do.
*Ya see, y’all didn’t HAVE TO keep leaving your cool records out, or your tie dye t-shirts, or Police t-shirts, or star wars figures, or, or, or…..
SEE! THEY REALLY DO LOVE ME…
Even if my arrival may have been a little late in the game and the realm of baby girl was a surprising new, unchartered territory…
They embraced me, bumps, bruises and all. Poppin wheelies with my stroller up and down the street to go and show me off to all their friends and neighbors. Tough from the beginning, hangin on tight. …. Still am, right? Thanks for that, guys. So many lessons learned that have truly served me well for the long haul. We had no idea then how well they truly would serve me well.
I’m the proudest little sister ever.
Because I have the two best big brothers … EVER!
NO DOUBT ABOUT IT!
without further adieu…
a funny for you two:
(This i know , a-gain, but its just so fitting)
AND FOR BEAU, WHO BOUGHT THIS, AS HIS VERY FIRST SINGLE WITH HIS OWN MONEY ON HIS 10th BDAY
THE FIRST RAP OUT THERE… ON HIS B-DAY!
LOVE YOU BOTH! – BUNA