Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thanks for the Memories! Happy Birthday Mike!

Siblings! Most of us have them or often at least one, and often times looking back over our childhood memories, there is a lot to reflect on. This is the first time, I've had the opportunity to really share a personal side of my life in regards to the relationship I have shared over 40 something years with my younger brother, Michael, who is turning 45 today. (For those of you doing the math, you're correct in guessing my age would have to be at least over 45, but that is a topic for another day!)

Growing up in my childhood consisted of just my brother and I, living with both parents until they divorced when I was 7. I know I was happy with that decision since being around parents that fight a lot makes for uncomfortable living arrangements and when one parent is removed from that, the house is much more enjoyable. So for the remaining years until we both reached 18, we would split our weekends between our parents, living with my mom primarily. However life as a single parent was hard. My mom had to work two jobs to make ends meet for us and that didn't include trips to the movies or out much, that was really just enough to pay the bills and keep food in the house.

So my brother and I were left to fend for ourselves most days while we had a baby sitter. Since this was before the time technology really launched we had to use a time honored device available to everyone, it's called your imagination!! I think we had the best!! We played "restaurant" and would take turns being the waiter or waitress and serve one another lunch or snacks or sometimes dinner if the day ran much later. We created our own layout, menus and uniforms!

We used to take trips with my mom to make deposits at the local bank and would take extra deposit slips for checking and savings accounts to play "bank" with when we got home. Taking turns who got to be the customer along with a hefty supply of Monopoly money to deposit! We used a typewriter to record the deposits and withdrawals in a book we created. We even took the liberty at taping our pens with string to the counter, so people couldn't take them out of the bank.

I think my all time favorite that would literally keep us busy for weeks at a time, was playing with our Hot Wheels. Unfortunately because we were so creative, we found extra wood paneling up in the rafters in our garage that when flipped over, became the perfect place to map out roads and streets for our play town with a permanent marker. We dismantled my brothers extensive railroad set of all the buildings and trees so we could use it to create our town. (My dad was NOT thrilled with this!) We used the cover for our record player to simulate the mall, and made all kinds of road signs with stickers from gum packages back then. We even made pot holes in the road because what town is ever perfect. We could play with that for hours, days, weeks, you name it. Every day, we would start all over again and divide up the cool cars from the not so cool ones to have. And at the end of each night we would put everything in a box and slide the plywood paneling under the couch in the living room to wait for us to play again the next day.

Over the years, as we both grew older, those times of imaginary play went away, but definitely not forgotten. Our summers were spent most days huffing our beach stuff to the bus stop with my brother and few neighborhood friends to get to the beach. We'd stay all day long until the last bus would leave at the end of the day and head back home. Other times we'd walk or take the bus to the mall which was a few miles away. We never really had days where we didn't have something to do.

One time, we spent the day in the riverbed by our house, now they are called sewers, and got frogs. We'd take them back home in buckets and try to make homes for them. We weren't allowed to keep them inside, but at least we could keep them in the back yard. This is how I discovered frogs could not live in a pure water only environment and killed one when he drowned when I left him sitting alone in the water. Ah the joys of living and experiencing life right.

When my brother turned 14, he moved into my dads' house and for the first time, we were apart. We still had an on and off again relationship, but it was different now. We were growing up and doing different things, had different friends, and those times of just being together were no longer.

Now that he turns 45 today, I want him to know how much he means to me and always had. When we would get into trouble for talking too much at night, it was nice knowing I wasn't alone. When we got scared of the dark, we were just down the hall from one another and we didn't have to wake up our parents, we had each other. When life got harder and the situations became more complicated with divorces in both of our lives and the introduction of our own kids, it was nice to be able to throw all those parent-isms back at them. "What are you born in a barn? Shut that door, we're paying for that air!" When we got into trouble with our parents, I'll never forget my brothers hand written pleas written on the backside of the door, perfectly scripted in hopes of springing an early release from our bedrooms. :D

It hasn't always been easy and there were many times we fought worse than enemies ( I still remember your rhyme for my Cabbage Patch kid whose name was Jonathan Bradley, you would tell me, "Jonathan Bradley, he smells badly!", but in the end, my life wouldn't have been the same if I didn't have you, my brother, to share it with. I love you Michael and I know the hopes and dreams God has for your future! You'd better put your sunglasses on, cause from what I can see, it's going to get much brighter!!!

Happy Birthday Little Brother!!!


Miriam said...

Kat, how sweet that you two have each other. I hope your brother has a very Happy Birthday!
Miriam (fb)

Debby@Just Breathe said...

What a sweet post.
Happy Birthday Mike! said...

Love you sis! Thank you for the birthday post!


Mari said...

I love this post - happy birthday to Mike!