Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Meet the baby of the family. Mind you he is not the youngest of my siblings but somehow he always seemed like the baby. In my mind's eye he is still 3 years old.
There were seven of us. Somehow we were grouped into the boys, who were my oldest two brothers; the girls, my sister four years younger and me; the kids, my youngest sister and my youngest brother; and my brother. It was not because we loved him less or anything like that. It was just that he sort of got caught in a place where there was no one to match with him.
My brother loved to play cars and trucks. He would spend hours in the sand box under the tree making roads and driving his little cars and trucks to all the imaginary places that only he knew. He was more than happy to have company but he never really played with us. He played beside us.
At our grandmother's house he would take the garden hoe and drag it along her driveway to create the most marvelous road systems. Keep in mind that the driveway was half a block long then turned a corner and was another half block long. Until someone drove over his roads or it rained he could play to his heart's content.
When my brother was playing whatever he wanted to play that day he was completely oblivious to everything around him. I often said that he seemed to have a cloud around his head. He just did not realize that there was anything but the moment and what he was doing in that moment.
My brother loved our dogs and they loved him. They allowed him liberties that they would not have taken from any other human being. He could stick his little fingers into any facial orifice on a dog and they would not even flinch. He was not cruel just very young and curious.
One of the many Suzies was our dog. My brother snuck up behind her as she was eating. The dog did not expect it and did not know who it was that suddenly jumped her from behind. She turned around and bit him.
The bite was severe. My brother's upper lip had a deep wound and the lower lip had a bad but not quite as bad wound. We had a doctor in town and my brother was rushed to the doctor.
All the doctor could do was clean the wound a bit. He was older and he said that he could not do what needed to be done for my brother because his hands were not steady enough any more. He recommended a doctor in the next town.
My brother required stitches to close the wounds. Usually they do not like to stitch dog bites because for some reason they tend to become infected more easily that way. But my brother's upper lip was bitten almost completely through. The doctor said he would probably need corrective surgery when he got older. I am happy to tell you that he healed so well that there is a small scar that you can see if you look closely but no surgery was necessary.
My brother married young. His wife is a beautiful person inside and out. She is quiet and warmly dignified. They had two children.
My niece was ill with a terminal kidney disease. She suffered and died when she was 8 years old. Her mother and father suffered right along with her.
Her medical bills were outrageous even though my brother had excellent medical insurance through work. There was not enough money so my brother took a second job and as many odd jobs on the side as he could find. My sister-in-law also found work. For a young family with a sick child, another child that also needed attention, and no time to spare for each other it was too much. Their marriage failed.
My brother had the court ordered child support automatically withdrawn from his paycheck. He also saw to it that the children had the things they needed. He is a good father.
He was thrilled when his little boy started getting a little bigger. He had someone to play cars and trucks with. My nephew was not as interested in them as his father but they had good time together and that is the important thing.
When my niece died both parents and of course my nephew were all devastated. We all were. She was a loving and giving child who enriched the lives of all of us.
About two years after her death my sister-in-law went to my brother to remind him that child support was still being withheld for his daughter. She had just realized it and told him that she would let the authorities know. She wanted him to be ready in case there were any papers that would need to be signed.
My brother told her not to say anything. The money was directly taken from his pay before he even saw it. He would not miss what he did not see. He told her to put it in a fund for my nephew for when he was older.
After 25 years my brother met another lovely woman. He took that long to get over my sister-in-law. These two women could not be more different. But they are both wonderful and both have been good for him.
His new wife is outgoing and bubbly. She embraces life and is just a fun person to be with.
And my baby brother is a grandfather. His granddaughter is the apple of his eye and he adores her. She adores him back. She just graduated from high school and he is so proud.
I know he misses his daughter. He still has his son and his family. And he has a new wife. His life is good.