Friday, November 28, 2014

I was desperate for a brother...

When I was a kid there was very little I wanted more than a brother.

I have a brother.  One that shares my DNA.  One that has my fair skin.  But because of difficult circumstances I have never been able to meet him.

As broken families and broken people go, a thing like not having a brother left a gap in my life.  From very young I clung to boys.  Not in the way that most girls do with crushes and blushing and passing notes in class.  I played football with them at recess.  And high-fived them in the hallway.  I played video games with them at parties while the other girls were huddled around talking about which one they were going to the dance with on Friday.  I identified with them probably more than a girl normally would because --

I was desperate for a brother.

I had a father that adored and supported me.  I had a mother that loved and cared for me.  I had beautiful sisters who fought and argued with me.  But it was never enough.  I was never really content --

because I was desperate for a brother.

My oldest sister is seven years older than me.  It was the perfect age for "brother" candidates, or boyfriends as most people know them by.  I was always so excited when she had a new boyfriend.  A new chance at a new brother.  But as young love and boyfriends go, they didn't stick around as long as I had hoped --

because I was desperate for a brother.

I don't remember the day she brought him home from college but I remember thinking it was my one real shot at one real brother.  I mean, college boyfriends turn into husbands, right?  And they turn into brother-in-laws.  Turns out, he was sticking around.

I ended up working for him for four summers doing concrete work.  We had long hours of driving in a truck and staying too late finishing up driveways and too many early mornings prepping equipment.  But turns out I didn't mind the driving and the driveways and the prepping because --

I was desperate for a brother.

Somewhere in the King-Sized Reece's breakfasts of champions and the consumption of too many bottles of Dr. Pepper and the red-faced frustration of other guys messing up jobs and the contractors who were punks, I got something I had been so desperate for...a brother.

We talked about life.  He told me how stupid I was for some of the guys I dated.  We laughed about things that happened on the job site.  We laughed even harder at the number of accidents I had on the job site.  He was honest with me and told me I deserved better than I was letting myself believe.  I had hours and hours of undivided attention from a brother I so desperately needed.  And he was so willing to oblige.

When I look back I know without a doubt that there was no one more influential in my life for those four summers than him.  And the repercussions of my time with a guy that loved my sister but also chose to love me, too, undoubtedly changed me and helped make me the person I am today.

He is tough and strict and demanding and hard-working and when you hug him it's like hugging a bag of cement.  But there is no one more committed, more dedicated, more trustworthy or more honorable than him.  And he filled a void in my life that he probably has no idea he filled, until now.

I love you, you big Lug.  Happy Birthday.