What Good is a Brother?

Shortly after my youngest daughter Mimi was born, my mom mentioned that she was glad I had two girls.  She had always felt bad that I didn’t grow up with a sister.  Aghast, I asked her what she meant by that, after all, I had a perfectly good brother.  Mom told me that it was something she couldn’t explain and suggested that I just watch them interact. 

So…for years I’ve been watching them interact.  I guess I can see where having a sister might come in handy.  Borrowing your brother’s shirt or smelly gym shoes doesn’t have the same appeal as begging to wear that really cute top or adorable pair of new flats.  And a brother isn’t much fun to watch chick flicks with or giggle when a “hawt guy” walks by. (but isn’t that what girlfriends are for?) As for tea parties…well…he’d always show up, but he never did understand the fine ritual of holding out your pinky as you slowly sipped your tea and tossed the fluffy pink boa around your neck. Of course, he always managed to escape as soon as the treats were gone.  It was all about the food for him. Yes, I can see where having a sister would come in handy.

I had to really think about what good a brother was.  The whole time we were growing up, he was nothing but a pest.  My baby brother wanted to do everything I did, and always wanted to get into my private stuff.  All I wanted to do was anything without him.  When I did deign to spend time with him though, we always had fun. 

Our kind of fun was a bit different than the fun I watch my daughters have.  We loved to play outside in what we called “The Dirt Place.” It was along the side of our yard and was just dirt.  We would build towns and have wars and weddings (my influence). Sometimes we would turn it into a kitchen and bake the most extraordinary feasts consisting of dirt, sticks and rocks. When we tired of that, we would wander off to explore the canyons across the street from our house. We could spend hours wandering around, creating hideouts and just enjoying the time we spent together. 

Then there was the game we made up. I think it was called Dodge Ball, but certainly not the one you are probably thinking.  I would position myself at one end of the yard while my brother would gather up ammunition. Then he would start throwing things at me…balls, sticks, rocks…anything that could be tossed through the air.  My job was to dodge back and forth trying not to get hit. Then we would switch sides so he could have the ammunition again. (Hmmm…now that I think about it, what a horrible game! I’m not sure why we were allowed to play it.)

My baby brother and I live on opposite coasts now. It’s been a few years since we’ve actually seen each other.  We keep in touch by phone, but not nearly as much as we should. It’s easy to get caught up in everyday life and forget about the important things in life. 

Today, I’m thinking of my Baby Brother a lot.  In fact, one of his favorite songs (no, not Blinded by the Light or Born Free) has been running through my head.  It goes like this:

Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday to you

You look like a monkey

…and you smell like one too!

Happy Birthday Baby Brother, I love you bunches! (of bananas!)


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15 Responses to What Good is a Brother?

  1. I think brothers are swell–I always wanted one.

  2. Jenny says:

    Your description of playing outside in the dirt reminds me so much of my childhood! Although my baby brother didn’t come along until I was 12 years old so we never really had an opportunity to play together, my big sister was my daily nemesis. She would’ve loved to have me on the receiving end of that throw-whatever’s-handy game!

  3. Hilary says:

    As a kid, I always wanted to trade my older sister in for a brother. I figured he would come in handy for bringing cute friends home. 😉 It sounds like not too much has changed since you and your brother were little ones. You used to stand at opposite ends of the yard throwing ammunition at one another. Now you’re on opposite coasts throwing electronic messages. I hope your bro has a wonderful birthday. He certainly has a wonderful sister.

  4. Kathy Ariano says:

    Happy Birthday to Baby Brother! (and I LOVE “Blinded by the Light”!)

  5. Patsy (mom) says:

    I glad that I was able to provide you with such a wonderful play toy. And what the heck!!! When were the two of you throwing rocks and such at each other?!!!! It is a good thing that I didn’t know that. I would have broke your necks, after I spanked you good. I keep hearing about the terrible things that you and your brother were getting into and I wonder where I was. Well, you are both still living, thanks with all the help who ever you were that gave me assistance with these bratty kids. Love mom and happy birthday baby boy!

  6. I have both a brother and sisters…and they are both good for somethin’!! Happy Birthday to your brother!! Kids today just don’t play like we used to…they are inside glued to their video games!!

  7. Lori says:

    Aww, happy birthday to your bro! My brother is 5 years older and used to used to say “open your mouth and close your eyes and I will give you a big surprise” then shove blanket fuzz in my mouth. But how stupid was I to have fallen for it more than once? Many more times than once, actually! And now he lives with us and makes yummy dinners every night. So I have to agree – brothers are pretty cool when they grow up.

  8. Tylor says:

    Growing up it was always just my older brother and I (I still have the scars to prove it) but from early on I always wanted a little sister. Sadly, it never happened.

  9. Brandt! says:

    cool post! I grew up with three older sisters …my mom used to always say that she should have had an ‘oldest’ son …. what did that mean?? i was bullied enough by my sisters … not sure if a brother would have been better!

  10. Cazzie says:

    Hahaha dodge ball, I love it. I used to play with my big brother out on the farm. We used to play games that involved making targets and shooting them with air rifles. Far out! I would never let my kids have a rifle like we did! Times have changed!

  11. Nilesh says:

    Nice blog with a new look.

  12. Julie M. says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. I am also a recipient of a brother and no sisters. Your post brought back great memories of playing with my brother. We actually used to dress him up like a girl so he could be one of us. He was a good sport about it. I don’t keep in touch with him as much as I’d like either. It’s hard because he lives fairly far away, but I still don’t regret having him around! Now I have three boys, so it should be interesting seeing the different dynamic that accompanies have all the same sex.

    I’m stopping by from LBS. Hope you had a great weekend!

  13. Blond Duck says:

    Popped in from Lady Bloggers to say hi! I never had a brother, but it sounds like a wonderful experience!

  14. Amy says:

    cool post! I grew up with three older sisters …my mom used to always say that she should have had an ‘oldest’ son …. what did that mean?? i was bullied enough by my sisters … not sure if a brother would have been better!

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