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My brother turned 40 on Sunday, May 24th. My "little" brother. The one who I still think of as 5, or 12, or 17, or 20-ish [emphasis on the "ish"]. The one who I was able to convince to do just about anything as a young kid, including spin me around on his shoulders because I told him we could easily be on Dance Fever or get a job as Solid Gold dancers. We had the skill! We had the desire! It didn't matter that I outweighed him by nearly 20 pounds... if he just caught me, held me, threw me -- he'd get stronger! His current back problems are likely a result of our rigorous dance training, under my zealot-like direction.
I can't believe he's 40.
Toddler Child stubbed his toe this weekend. A good old-fashioned, big-toe, stub. As Toddler Child and I inspected his big toe again this morning, vivid memories of the day my brother was brought home from the hospital flooded my mind. My parents don't believe me that I remember. But I do.
My third birthday was days away. The baby was so cute. I wasn't jealous of the attention he was getting, but I wanted him to be my baby. I remember sitting on the green couch, my legs straight while I was allowed to "hold" the baby. It was more tiring than I thought it would be.
I remember being on the front porch, I think Mom had opened the door to greet my grandparents as they arrived. In all of the excitement, I stubbed my big toe. No one noticed. It was bleeding so I cried. Mamaw finally realized I was upset. She pulled a tissue from her purse that already had blood-red stains on it. Her signature lipstick. She sat beside me on the front porch and dabbed at my toe. I remember thinking how pretty her tissue looked, with her lipstick and my blood.
That's all I remember.
More than anything, I remember how much I loved my brother. He's my only sibling and we're fortunate to like one another and be friends. True friends.
I can't believe he's 40. It's like... he's an adult.
Happy Birthday, Joe. I'm proud of the man you are and fortunate to call you brother, and friend.
I still can't believe he's 40.