Happy Birthday, TEEEJ!

Today is my little brother’s birthday. I say “little” because although he’s a good 8 or so inches taller than me, he’s 5 years younger, therefore LITTLE. He’s 36. How did that happen? He’s all gray-haired, responsible and old.

I remember very clearly the night he was born. I remember my mom wearing a long satin nightgown that was an ivory color with short sleeves and it was striped with pastel shades of purple, pink, blue and green. I remember skipping church that day because “mommy doesn’t feel well.” Then I remember being shuttled off to SueEllen’s house to spend the night because the “baby was coming.” This was before the days of knowing the gender ahead of time, so we didn’t know what it was going to be. I really didn’t want a sister. I really didn’t want a sibling, actually. I was cool with the state of things. But the parents went and decided that I was becoming too “difficult” and needed a brother or sister to “calm her down.” Whatever.

My brother was born at 9:30pm that night and I’m figuring that after they did all the APGAR stuff and cleaned up the situation there it was close to midnight when they called to tell me I had a brother. I was sleeping on SueEllen’s couch and I was gently shaken awake to receive a phone call from my dad. He said in a very excited voice, “Hi Tiffy! (they called me that then. if anyone tries it now, I get very stabby) You have a little brother! His name is Todd!” One thing to note here is that a family trait, inherited from my father and passed on to both me and my brother is that we do not wake up well under any circumstance. It takes us a while to warm to the fact that we’re no longer asleep and when we’re suddenly awakened by loud noises it’s the stuff of Three Stooges films. So dad makes this exciting announcement to very groggy 5-year-old me and I mumble an “ok” and hang up the phone and stumble back to SueEllen’s couch. That’s pretty much it.

After he was born there was the phase of insensitive visitors breezing past me to hold the baby and me with my little hurt feelings crying that no one wanted to talk to me anymore. This is why my mother and I ALWAYS take a gift to the older sibling and play with them first and then ask THEM to introduce us to their new baby. Simple new baby etiquette, people!

The fact that he was a boy and that there was a 5-year age difference was really quite perfect. We never had to share anything and I SUPER hate sharing. Ask my bestie from 6th grade. She’s been trying to get me to share for 30 years. No go. We didn’t have to share rooms, bathrooms, teachers, friends, and even schools for very long. It worked out pretty well.

Today I’d have to say we get along pretty well. Naturally I prefer his children to him, but that’s to be expected. They are way more pleasant. He’s an excellent husband, father, musician, designer, and a pretty good guy. Here’s to 36 more, Little Bro!

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