A year and a half ago he called me; I answered from my hospital bed. â€œDonâ€™t freak out. But I have something to share.â€ (For those interested, never a good idea to request a bedridden, hospitalized, highly hormonal pregnant mother of multiples to not â€œfreak out.â€ Itâ€™s not going to go your way.) He was planning to propose.
Paul is three(ish) years younger than me. We didnâ€™t necessarily get off on the right foot. At age two, my mom packed me up and sent me off to Mudpie school. She didnâ€™t want me to think I was getting shipped off once the new baby arrived. But I was a nerd from an early age. Once the wrinkly bundle arrived I was cut off â€“ down to only two days a week.
As we grew older, we started to bond. â€œI canâ€™t hear you two in thereâ€¦â€ our mom would caution. Sage woman. We were usually about to try and end the other. Both of us still bear the scars of battle. (I also may have threatened to drown his beloved Raspberry Bear. I am sure it was deserved at the time. Please note this was a stuffed toy prior to alerting PeTA.)
Over the years I learned it was pretty cool to have a little bro. We conspired against our parents. Weâ€™d wake them up every hour on the hour as Christmas morning approached. We snuck down the hallway and talked through the night as we waited for the dawn of holidays and birthdays.
Paul became my friend. We traded baseball cards and watched the Dodgers and kept score to the stylingâ€™s of Vin Scully. Paul acquired a pair of red high-tops for school; they matched his Cincinnati Reds cap perfectly. That may have been the beginning of his obsession with the team. (A team from a city and state that he would not visit until after meeting Stephanieâ€¦fate?)
Mom worried that people might make fun of such ugly, ridiculous, loud, different shoes. But Paul wore them with pride. He was a kid to watch. And as his sister, I proudly attended every single one of his little league baseball games.
The two of us spent many summer evenings discussing the finer points of pitching â€“ practicing on the front lawn before the sun finally forced us inside for the evening. Well, the setting sun or the shattered back window of our dadâ€™s Volvo. (Pretty sure that was called a ball.)
As we grew older we discussed relationships. Paul would roll his eyes, â€œI have to meet ANOTHER one of your boyfriends? What sport does he play?â€ It was determined that it did not matter what our parents thought of our prospective dates â€“ it was sibling approval that was required. He had some very sage advice. (I like to think I did too. Example: â€œIf you break up with Stephanie, Iâ€™m keeping her.â€)
Thanks, bro. Tomorrow, I get a sister.