Happy Birthday Kiddo; An Ode To My Brother

Today's my little brother's birthday! When I told him I would write a post about him, he said: "Finally! You only ever write about your little sister, never about me". He's got a point! My brother's so close to me in age, whereas my sister is around 10 years younger than me. The relationship I have with him versus her is so different. What remains the same is the responsibility I feel for them both, being the oldest, and how their happiness means everything to me. Happy Birthday Eric! I love, respect and appreciate you and hope you had the most amazing day. One day I'll be there to celebrate it with you!

Here's some of the memories I have of growing up with you as my annoying lil' bro. 

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Memory I: We're playing outside our grey timber house, it's summer. Daisy, our golden retriever pup, is hanging around looking after us like a proper childminder. On the side of the path leading into our house there's an abandoned Jungle Book juice box with its content sipping out. There are ants everywhere. In that house we dress up Daisy like a doll whenever our parents are sleeping. In that house you spin around in my dresses; your eyes sparkling of joy at the beauty that is your sister's spinning dress that you, too, get to wear. 

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Memory II: Some of our friends are over; they're mostly your friends. Kids seem to like you more, you're funnier, tougher, more playful than me. We're in a different house, sharing a room with a giant image of a forest as our wallpaper. We're jumping on our beds, playing with Smurf-toys. You mention to the other kids that I wet my bed at night, and sometimes I even wet my pants during the day. I hate you for saying that, for sharing secrets. Other memories from that house: us bathing together. Us in mom's bed listening to her reading Barbie books. 

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Memory III: We're at our dad's house, dad's out doing something in the garden, helping grandma and grandpa most probably. He says before he goes, be nice to each other. I don't know why, but we start fighting. You get a scissor and throw it at me, I run out of the house, over to grandma's. At the edge of her house there's a rake, I take it and start swinging it around me creating a border that you can't get through. You cry and scream till dad comes back. Other memories from that house: us playing with Star Wars lego, us playing bats after our shower with our towels as wings, us laying in the dark in our bunk beds listening to scary stories on the cassette tape, us putting "spider webs" all over the house, us creating a trap for dad - so that when he opens the door to our room an object will come flying towards him.  

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Today's your 27th birthday! You're almost as old as I am, you always are. You're the person I share the most memories with. We share trauma, we share joy. There are emotions grown from moments only you and I can relate to.

Here are seven traits of yours I really treasure, admire and look up to: 

1. You're just as sensitive as me. You're connected to your emotions, allowing yourself to live life with both the ups and downs. You understand depth in film and music and literature, it comes easy to you. You understand depth, layers, in people, too. 

2. You're a hard worker, both when it comes to your personal life and your work life. Most importantly maybe, you work hard at fighting for others. There's nothing that engages you more than equality for all and every person's right to live a better life. 

3. You enjoy happiness. You take real pleasure in the small things in life. A cup of coffee, a song, the weather, a view, a good meal, travelling with friends, travelling alone, meeting new people, being by yourself, writing, reading, drawing, finding something nice for your apartment, cooking, etc. 

4. Your ability to be independent. I've always admired how well you take care of things. Where I would fall apart, you persevere. You always seem to have projects going, apartments to move into, jobs to work at, a steady budget: things that I've been struggling with haha. You manage to build stability, no matter how rough things get. 

5. Your social life. People love you, you've always had many friends. You treat your friends like family, you understand the importance of people coming together and collectively growing and not just doing this independently of others. You value "offline" gatherings more than "online" ones. 

6. You're extremely funny, and no one can make me laugh the way you do because of what we share together. I'm guessing I'm the only one who could really laugh at some of your jokes as well, and I love that we share that. 

7. You always seem to understand what people are going through, and even if you don't understand you respect the struggle. You listen without judgement, full of empathy and compassion. 

I'm so incredibly proud of who you are and what you do. I'll always be your number one fan and defender. Love you, mean it.