For My Baby Brother

Right now, you are high above the clouds, in an airplane. Maybe you are sleeping…maybe you are waking up and wondering how, exactly, your life wound up where it is right now. I’m sure that is a thought that has been coming up a lot in the months, the weeks, the hours that came before this flight. I know when I was in the dark place you have been in, that thought plagued me- how did I get here? And it’s twin-how will I ever get back? They wouldn’t leave me alone.

We have spent years and years in this half-relationship. Some of it because of my addiction, some of it because of yours, and some of it just due to time and distance apart. But that doesn’t erase the fact that I have this great and tender love for you, this burdensome thing-you are one of the only people I have a hard time expressing myself to, and one of the only ones I can’t ever seem to find the right words for. This love for you I carry around, it scares me, if you have to know. It seems like you are one of those people always two steps away from being lost to me forever- first, because of our crazy parents, then to your crazy lifestyle…loving someone like you is a study in vulnerability, and that is one role I don’t play too well.

When mom brought you home from the hospital and leaned down to show you to me for the first time, she said “Isn’t he beautiful?” and I thought, ‘My God, NO, he is hideous.” I guess I thought you would be a little older or something, but you were just this wrinkled up little poo-sack with a rotten stump where your belly button should have been. Totally gross.  Then, months passed, and I remember watching you in the back seat of the car- you looked me right in the eye, and my stomach did little flips, and I started to love you.

I loved you, demonic as you were, with your cowboy boots and your white blonde hair. I loved your big green eyes, and your tough attitude, because I knew it would save you. I loved you because you were in it with me, but I wished that you weren’t. The stuff we had to go through, no kid should ever have to see.

I can’t help but wonder how much of that stuff made you into the person you are today. I know it’s useless and pointless to blame anyone for the way we turn out, but it’s an awful shame when the people who are supposed to protect you fall short of the mark. Grown ups don’t see the way that little kids do…I know I was scared all the time, and you were born into a home full of anger and fear. I wish it had been different. For both of us.

I have watched you falling apart for such a long time now. I have heard all of the excuses mom has made, all of thehope she had and then lost, again and again, and I said nothing to you. Every time you called me, you were three sheets to the wind, anyway. Some of those times, I was okay, and some of them, I was in no position to offer advice, if you catch my drift. But every time I hung up the phone, I knew what you were, and I knew there was nothing I could do to stop it or change it or fix it. All I could do was let you go and hope you wound up somewhere safe.

It looks like maybe you will. I am so proud of you for getting on that plane today. While you are gone, you are going to learn a lot of great stuff about why you are the way you are, and what you can do to be someone else, a better, more well version of you. You are going to get stronger. When you come home, you are going to have some tools to keep you out of those dark places. You don’t ever have to feel the way you’ve felt for so long now, ever again- if you don’t want to.

You will be in my prayers every single day, and in the meant time, I will write your name on this date, on my calendar. Happy Birthday, brother. I love you with all of my heart.

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12 thoughts on “For My Baby Brother

    1. Thank you! Will you please tell my mother she does not look like a monster in this post? I’d like to know one parent who comes through their experience smelling like roses! I love you, mom, you are a great mother. Huh, Ben?

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      1. No, she doesn’t come across as a monster, though I can see where she might worry about “crazy parents… crazy lifestyle.” That could mean all sorts of things– I assumed it was more endearment than indictment, but others might not.

        In the short time I’ve been reading you though, you come across as smart, strong, and funny, and assuming your mom had some hand in that, quite a feather in the parenting cap 😉

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  1. “A study in vulnerability” I like that. Nicely said. If your mom thinks she looks like a monster what does that make mine?

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  2. I shared this with your brother this morning. He wants me to print a copy and send it to him. He hopes you send him a letter. He loves you, and he’s doing well.

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