Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Happy birthday, wonder boy!
Happy birthday to my little brother Blake, who is 12 today.
Blake didn't become my brother in the conventional way - my dad, younger brother Nik and I were fortunate enough to inherit him and his mother when Blake was very little. (Funny enough, because he looks like me and my dad!)
He is bright, articulate (about 12 going on 40), funny and sweet. We have enough traits in common (among them, a need for time alone, a love of chocolate, coffee, the Beatles, and British comedies) that you'd swear we were blood relatives.
When he was 10, he got a goldfish and named it Jude so he could come into his room, look at the fish, and say, "Hey, Jude." You can't find a cooler kid than that!
When he was five he asked his mom, "Where is grandpa Paul?" (Her dad, who died before Blake was born.)
She told him that we really didn't know.
"Well, he was a good dad," said Blake. "I think if you're a good dad you turn into a star." Pause. "And if you're a bad dad, you turn into Playdoh."
People who dig into the family particulars say, "Oh, he's your stepbrother."
And I correct them: "He's my brother."
I changed his diapers and took him to the Tigger Movie and tried to convince him to eat chicken by saying, "Have some buk!" I took him to see A Hard Day's Night and let him tag along when he insisted on coming on a walk with me through the West Hills in Portland. (After we got to the bottom of the first hill, he looked up at me and said, "I'm done!" Guess who had to carry him up the hill?)
We have had many frappucinos together, and have read many books together, notably Frog and Toad. We still look at each other and say, "Hello, Lunch!" - a joke from one of the Frog and Toad stories. And now he is reading Agatha Christie on his own.
Although I don't have children, now I know how parents feel when they sigh and say, "They've grown up so fast!" Not that I want Blake to be little again - he is more and more interesting as he gets older.
I have loved every minute of it. When I was little, I sort of felt like I had to be a parent to Nik (I'm sure he loved that!) and didn't really get to be a big sister in the traditional sense. So it's catch up time.
Having reinvented our own family (including the wonderful addition of my little sister Trace, in 2000), no one can convince me that blood is thicker than water.
For me, love and family are what you make them. I wouldn't trade mine for anything.