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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Bane of My Existence

Pin It When I was growing up my parents decided to have another child. Why they decided this, I don’t know. What I do know is that I was not consulted in this monumental decision that would undoubtedly affect my life more than anyone else’s in the family. I was simply told that he was coming, and that there was nothing I could do about it.

As you can imagine, I was not thrilled at this prospect.

The months passed, faded, and blurred to a bleak day in November that we drove my mom to the hospital; it was there that she gave birth to my little brother, officially making me the middle child.

Thanksgiving Day was spent with my dad and older sister at a local restaurant eating hamburgers and fries for the holiday meal, while mom was doomed to eat that tasteless, sterilized stuff at the hospital

You see, already my brother was ruining all of our lives.

A few days later or so he came home. He was younger than I was, he was littler, and he was cuter, too; everybody was all over him. They all called him, ‘Little Z.’

I could’ve puked.

I tried to have as little to do with the spoiled little brat as the years trudged on. During this time, he learned to talk, to walk, to talk, get into my things, and to talk some more. I remember one day walking into the living room to find him busily devouring the library book I’d checked out. I snatched it away from him and appealed to a higher power.

Mom.

When I demanded justice through restitution and a formal beheading, she responded with something along the lines of, “Well, this should teach you to not leave your things where your brother can get them.”

I was denied justice and the satisfaction of his being punished. As you can imagine, I loathed the little blighter even more.

It wasn’t long thereafter that the day came when I felt my world had fallen apart. You see, my dad finished the upper level of our house and we moved upstairs. It was wonderful! I was finally to have a bedroom that was not in the food pantry with a door made of a blanket pinned up in the frame. This was to be a REAL bedroom. A bedroom with a door I could lock.

I was thrilled.

However…isn’t this always the way it is? Things just seem to be going your way, when the rug is pulled out from beneath you, and you find yourself in a worse predicament than you were in before? You see, at this moment when I felt that things were finally starting to go my way I was informed that my little brother and I would be sharing a bedroom together.

Well, that was just great.

I felt that my parents were intentionally ruining my life and trying to make me miserable. As a result, I blamed my little brother and thought all the more about just how much I disliked him; this in turn made me feel all the more miserable and sorry for myself.

After we’d shared a bedroom for some time, something else happened which changed our relationship forever. It all started late one night when I was getting ready to go to sleep. As I flopped down on my bed to read for a while, my little brother’s head appeared from the top bunk. Yancy—somewhat apprehensively—asked, “Would you read me a story tonight?”


As I made it blindingly clear before, I wanted as little to do with my brother as possible. However, if I were to read to him, I wouldn’t have to put up with his incessant chattering and questions—something he was well known for at bedtime.

I agreed, but it was more to shut him up than anything else.

That night I read to him from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I thought for sure that he would quickly become bored with the story, lose interest, and not ask for me to read to him again. You can imagine my surprise when he thanked me at the conclusion of several chapters. When he dropped off to sleep, I thought about how good it felt to read to him.

The next night the same thing happened, and even though I had homework, I put it off so I could read a few chapters to Yancy. He in turn expressed just as much gratitude as the night before.

After a few days of this, reading became our nightly ritual before bed, whether I had finished my homework or not. I would read until his eyes would become so heavy he couldn’t possibly keep them open any longer. Some nights when I stopped reading he would wake up, still groggy-eyed and beg, “No, please read just a little bit longer.”



We soon finished all of The Chronicles of Narnia and moved on to other books that I loved, such as James and the Giant Peach, and even a few stories I had written myself. It was from this small beginning that not only a love for literature was born, but a love between my brother and me.

The years have fled since those days, but the relationship that I share with my brother has only become stronger. He has been the greatest friend I’ve ever had, and we are closer today than at any other time in our lives. As I look back at the origins of our relationship—forged so many years ago—I realize that when I read to him, I was putting his needs before mine. It was by performing this simple act of service to my little brother, I came to appreciate him more as well.

I think back on that decision made so many years ago to have my little brother without my permission and realize the wisdom behind it. Like I said before, I knew that my brother would affect my life more than I could possibly imagine.


And so he has.

33 comments:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

My girls read the whole series of The Lion, Witch & Wardrobe and watched the pbs series...
I bet your brother indeed enhance you.. By having a brother you learned to give of yourself..See how important u were to him? BTW my oldest wasn't too thrilled at her 3rd sibling coming along.. she even packed her little suitcase w/books and granola bars..she made it to the corner and came home...(she was 9)

T said...

this gives me hope that my kids won't always want to kill each other :)

When my parents had my younger brother I told them to just leave him at the hospital... apparently I had to be bribed. We had matching birthmarks so I guess it was okay to bring him home - as long as I got something out of the deal.

YogaSavy said...

I read the whole series and so did my boys. Yes the bond between brothers does happen. I see it with my own two sons. it is truly wonderful and funny to watch.
Love the post!

Sue said...

What a great story! Thanks for sharing it.

=)

Lori said...

Aw. All choked up. This is such a good post, on so many different levels. I love your resentment of that little puny faced punk, and your outrage when your mother informed you that you shouldn't have left your book out where he could get it. I've never, ever said anything like that. Ever. (I did ask my kids if they wanted a little brother or sister, though.) I love your outrage when you learn he gets to share your room. And I adore how you read to him. Such sacrifice. Wonderful story.

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

This is such a sweet story of brotherly love. James and the Giant Peach gets 'em every time.
xoRobyn

tammy said...

Way to make me tear up. Maybe it's because I have two boys and even though the oldest one complains that his little brother is always bugging him, when I suggested they each have their own rooms now, Taylor (oldest) didn't want to.

Love this post.

Jenny said...

Sweet! I had some flash back as I read your post. Back to when my sisters made their appearance in to my life.

Kelly said...

Yancy?! That is an interesting name. I liked your essay and will be reading it to my boys. They fight more than they should. Today's fight was about who ate the last cookie and ended up with all their wii time taken away for the day...

M-Cat said...

This is quite possibly my most favorite thing you've written. Well done!

Katie said...

See, us babies of the family aren't all THAT awful!

I love the Narnia Chronicles. I think I read the entire series at least 4 times growing up, and my kids really liked them, too. Those books got some wonderful conversations going.

Mamma has spoken said...

I want to hear Yancy's side of this story ;o)

Linn said...

No words for how much I LOVE this post.

A Lark said...

Great post - there is nothing like being friends with your siblings! You reminded me of one of my favorite memories of my older sister - when we shared a queen-sized bed after we had moved to a new house and she read to me out of the "Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle" books. Something about reading together that bonds you....

Danielle said...

That was the cutest story ever. Gave me chills. And I love the picture on your blog of Yancy, that's how I remember him! You're such a good brother.

Corine said...

This is Karma. I just sat down to write a blog about my 15 yo thinking I am trying to make life miserable for him... and I decide that since I haven't read much lately I will treat myself to one blog reading first; and this is the one I read. I've read it before (on your other blog) and I love it! But today was the perfect day for me to read it again. I already knew what I needed to do with this boy who has been so awful to live with the past two days; It came to me like lightening... the answer was undemiable; spend some one on one time with him. I did it, and then read this, and now I am even more convinced that God is working in my life to help me to see this kid the way He does... I just have to CONTINUE SERVING him to be able to CONTINUE SEEING it. :) Thanks again for the great reminder. Corine :D

Stef said...

Ahhh. What a sweet story. There is hope for my two boys who are 19 months apart and constantly bickering. Whew!

Cheeseboy said...

I loved this story. It reminds me so much of the love/hate relationship that my two little guys have. So cool that you have that relationship. I wish I had the same with my bros.

Natasha said...

Aww, the power of books!

I love this post! It made me laugh and tear up. Thanks!

4evermyboys.... said...

I "somewhat" purposely had 4 kids as to not have a middle child. I'm a middle child with an older and younger brother. And YES my little bro was a pain. But as the years have past we have become great friends. Interestingly enough he's "sorta" become my 5th child....

Marnie said...

I love this story! That is so nice to see that you are now best friends.

I guess girls are different. My older sister was excited about my arrival...because she couldn't wait to boss me around. She now had seniority...lol. She's still bossy, but a good person to have on your side. I love her.

Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys said...

I LOVE this story. I hope my boys can write a similar one some day. The parts where you hated poor Yancy made burst out laughing!

BTW, I was recently told that middle chindren turn out to be the perfect children, therefore becoming the more perfect adult out of the siblings. Not sure how true that is since it was coming from a middle child. :)

tiburon said...

I am reading this post to all my kids today - in the hopes that they will see the wisdom in it.

And therefore think that Adam and I were smart to have multiple children and "ruin their lives"

And I kind of want to meet your brother now.

And I LOVE the name Yancy :)

The Empress said...

Oh, thank you for this. I see it happening right now in my home. WHen the boys wake up, I'm going to read this to them...because the future does happen.

Connie said...

I tried twice, yesterday to leave a comment and each time I was kicked off! It's almost as bad as being the last one picked for a recess kick-ball game!

This is a beautifully written post! It brought tears to my eyes. I saw that same thing happen with my own kids! So glad you're close to your brother!

Make Do and Mend said...

I too had a "bane" - she's now my best friend. Go figure.

Richard & Natalie said...

I love this story. One day I hope Ashton will feel this way too and finally forgive me for ruining his life.

Shannon said...

Like many others here, my boys are constantly at each other. I know that it will all come together one day as they grow and mature - you and Yancy are just living proof. Two awesome Z's? I don't know if I can handle it!

Farscaper said...

I AM the Bane! Mwahahaha!!!

It's not always easy being seen as the extra kid or the tag-along. Wish one of my brothers were more like you.

Teachinfourth said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. I do love my brother a lot. Unfortunately, with the living distance between us, I don't get to see him nearly as often as I used to, but that doesn't change the fact that I love him.

Thanks for commenting, and sorry that I didn't respond to each one individually. I appreciated them all.

Suzanne@Meridian Road said...

I loved reading this. I have two sons, 7 years apart. I love seeing what great friends they are now.

Very good post. Now I want to call my sisters.
I came here from 3Sunkissed Boys.

mywest said...

I always thought it would have been fun to have had a brother...was only thinking of you when Yancy was born. I know Shawna has a story when her sisters were born. Glad that we were able to give you some joy.

Yancy said...

@momma_has_spoken
"Yancy's side of this story" you ask?

It can be summed up thus:
I love my brother.

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