Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I love you, Bro

Growing up, I had two sisters. The eldest is 8 years older than me. The middle sister is 6 1/2 years older. I envied how close they were and begged my parents to give me a younger sibling to play with. Being in their 40's, I was denied.

However, thanks to a divorce, I got my wish. My father and his new wife had my brother (Bro) when I was 13. When he was a baby, they had to work weekends, so my dad asked me if I wanted to babysit while they worked instead of putting him in daycare. I jumped at the opportunity, I love my new little brother.  9-10 hours of play time each Saturday and Sunday, and I got paid well? I was living the life.

My brother and I immediately formed a super strong bond. An unbreakable bond that exists this very day. We talk every week (every day?), even though we live in different cities. He drives to stay with me when he has a break from college and can take a few days off work. We always have a blast when we are together. Usually an hour or two after he arrives, my face hurts from laughing too much. I am sure you think in order to have this much fun we must be drunk or on drugs. This is not the case. We have pure kid fun. I revert to the age of 10 (instead of my usual 11) when he is around.

On a recent visit, I ask if he would like to play PickUp Sticks with me. "What is that?" he asks. I am shocked to find this is to be his very first game, and feel I failed him as his older sibling. We lay on our bellies in the middle of my living room in front of a pile of brightly colored plastic sticks. I explain the rules to the game. He cackles at the simplicity of it. I dump the pile on the floor using the dreaded "twisted drop" which makes them land all directly on top of each other, but also intertwined.

Being a nice, kind, fair minded sister, I let him go first. When I hand the white stick over to him, his face changes. It is as if I just passed the baton in a 4 x 100 yard relay race during the Olympics. The laughing dies down to a chuckle, and eventually to silence (we are extremely competitive). He keeps inching forward to the pile of plastic sticks, analyzing the right approach. He decides on his target, the blue stick, and hovers the white stick above it. I can tell the pressure is too much. He reaches a shaky hand out, and immediately bumps another stick.

"My turn!" I yell, in a sing songy voice. He jumps at the distraction, and reluctantly hands the stick over.

Heh, heh, heh. Little does he know you gotta rock it out at the beginning of the game when sticks are laying in positions where they are easy to manipulate to gain a strong head start, before the complicated end where they are all impossible to move as they are dog piled on top of one another.

In a few seconds,  I have a pile of sticks lying next to me. I look up at him. He is looking at my pile, and back to the lack of his own.
"You are cheating." He accuses, pain and the fear of losing easily detectable in his voice and clearly written on his face.
"Bro, you are inches from the sticks, carefully watching me. I can't really cheat in two person PickUp Sticks."
"YES, somehow you are! Then how do you have that gigantic pile?"
"I have mad skills, young grasshopper. You have much to learn." and just to show off I grab a fly mid-flight using my pickup sticks as chop sticks (totally kidding).

I realize if I want to him to willingly play another game with me, I must at least make him feel is he doing well. So I bump a stick.
"Awww, darn."
"MY TURN!" He yells. I hand the stick over. I am smirking.

He army crawls the last centimeter toward the pile. Face mere inches from the stack. He reaches a shaky hand out, lets out a long breath, digs in and successfully pulls out a stick. I'm proud my baby bird just left the nest for his first flight. "YAY!" He cries out triumphantly.  We go along like this, sighing, cheering, sighing, cheering, until we are nearing the end of the pile. It is a close race, our piles similar in size, only a true count will reveal the winner.

My Bro knows every move is important. He angles the white stick in. Beads of sweat begin forming on his forehead. He hesitates, and yells out, "The pressure is too much! It is making my butt clench!"

It's all over for me, I burst out laughing and roll around on the floor holding my stomach. He wins.


  1. Oh shiz. I am laughing so hard, I'm tearing right now.

  2. Bwaaaaaa ha ha! Oh, you sound like my sister and me!