He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
My brother is twenty-two months older than me. When he was a baby, they would sit him up in the corner of the sofa and he would stay there for hours without making a noise. When I was a baby I was up all night often screaming at the top of my lungs for attention. The year my brother was third in the state for mathematics I failed geometry. To say we’re opposites is an understatement. He lives in California and I live in Nevada and although it’s close we only see one another a few times a year. I saw him last night and noticed that we both have received the family gift that our grandfather passed down to our father and now to us, a rather large pot belly. But I don’t see that when I look at him, I see the same guy who I’ve looked up to for all these years and loved. He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother – Don’t Get Me Started!
I know that some people have problems relating or even dealing with their siblings, I’ve just never been one of them. I’m sure we had the typical fights as kids but honestly since our interests were so diverse I think it just made it easier to like one another without all the typical competitiveness. I do remember once when we were younger that we had a fight. One of us (probably me) said, “I hate you.” My father sat us both down on one of our beds and said, “Look, it’s okay to be mad at one another but I never want to hear you say you hate one another. One day your mother and I will be gone and the only person you’ll have to turn to will be one another.” I was about eight but I never said I hated my brother again and I remember that talk like it was yesterday.
The thing is that when I see my brother today, even though at this point in our lives we’ve lived apart more years than we ever lived together, I still get excited and see him as my big brother. I don’t see our gray hair or our bellies, I see us as we were in a photo from when he was 7 and I was 5, all dressed up with a fake wall in front of us that we’re leaning on at the photographer’s studio where the shot was taken. No one can make me laugh like he does and no one laughs at my jokes like he does.
Last night as we were sitting at dinner he “bonked” me in the head with his hand. We could have been eight or in our forties (which we are) but the thing is that it was perfectly natural. It felt right, it felt like home. I’m so thankful that although we talk about adult things and we often disagree with some of our political stuff, a good bonk in the head can bring us right back to where we were and are, two brothers who do respect each other but more importantly, love one another.
It’s not always perfect and it’s not always easy now that he’s married with kids and I have a spouse but I’ll take any of the imperfections or hassles to try to please the group when I can sit next to him at dinner and laugh. It was our parents’ anniversary and so his family wasn’t there so it wasn’t perfect but it was pretty close and it let me wish I had a lot more time with him.
I don’t know what’s ahead for any of us but I do know that sometimes being a co-dependent Jewish family is a good thing. I know I can go to my parents or brother with anything and they’ll just love me (and tell me when I’m wrong). So while we may not look like those boys (though my Dad still calls us “the boys”) on the old sepia tone photo, there’s a lens on my eyes that allows me to always see us that way and at the same time see the men we’ve become. Weight shmeight, he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother – Don’t Get Me Started!
Read More Scott @ www.somelikeitscott.com