From the Mouths of…Well…30 Year Olds
My Kid Brother turned 30 on May 9th. It kinda freaked me out a little, to be completely honest, as it’s just not a fitting moniker for a 30 yo…KID brother. But that made me realize that he’s you know..NOT a kid anymore. As if the wife, house, 2 cars, 2 kids (third on the way) and business didn’t make a strong enough impression on me. (Never claimed I was quick, kids.)
We had a great conversation…I told him that I still remembered having to beat up that older kid who had kicked his ass when he was 8 and I was 13. I couldn’t remember his name but we could both remember what he looked like. Kid brother said “I remember the whole time he was pummeling me I was thinking about how awesome it was going to be to watch you fuck him up”.
We got to talking about how happy he is with his lot in life, which still makes me smile from ear to ear since I NEVER thought I would hear that come out of his mouth. See, Kid Brother? He was always in trouble…BIG trouble. Cop trouble. He was asked to leave the state of Massachusetts as a minor or go to Juvenile Hall. That’s how he wound up in Maine at the ripe old age of 15. Every time you turned around, Kid Brother was there saying “I didn’t do it”…which, of course meant that he had, indeed, done it. Done whatever “it” was and more, usually.
Me? I was there to bail him out. We couldn’t have been anymore different, but he was MY brother. Not your problem. MY BROTHER.
He was a punk. I was a class president. The list started right there.
The only things we had in common were that (1) we were both bad ass basketball players (2)we were both tough as nails for similar (and bad) reasons and (3) we both played guitar. Oh and (4) our parents.
Everything else was completely different.
I was determined to do everything that I could to get out of our house and get on with my life. Kid Brother was determined to lash out at anything and everything that came near him.
When we were younger you could tell we came from the same parents ONLY if you knew our parents. Because it seemed like KB got the worst of both of my parents (and their respective substances at that time) and I got the best (re: sober version) of them. He was quick to anger and into his substances and him self (like my Dad) and manipulative and with a tendency towards self martyrdom (like my mom)…and of course, completely self centered, which he got from both of them.
I was more like my sober dad, in that I kept my mouth shut and did what had to get done while smiling and laughing (and wanting to blow the place up, but I digress) and like my Mom without pills (Mother’s Little Helper cracked me up the first time I really got what it was about) in that I wanted to fix everything for everyone. I wanted to take care of everyone and make sure that the lid didn’t blow off the place. My motor never stopped running and I was CONSTANTLY doing something. For example;
I had a job that I did for an average of 20-30 hours/week.
I did 3 plays a year.
4 concerts (1/qtr) with the choir.
Peer education for kids.
Get the picture? I would run from the shower in the locker room to the auditorium for rehearsals. Before practice? I had student government meetings. And every other night I was in the drug store stacking boxes and working the cash register.
I was never home, and usually what I was home for was to make dinner for my family (Dodging fights by refusing to make eye contact) and then leave for whatever I had to do next. Then home later to make sure that they weren’t killing each other. And I mean, literally. I used to find my sister hiding in her closet or under her bed all the time. I’d coax her out with some promise of a story or a walk around the block.
I used to find my brother sneaking out at 11:00 pm or sneaking in at 3:00 am.
To bring this back to the point; Kid Brother and I were talking about how happy he was, and I said “I’m amazed you made it to 30 sometimes” That being mostly a joke. He knew that (mostly) and laughed, “me too…”
But then he said to me “it’s so much better now. I found what I’m good at and meant for”.
I told him that it made me proud. Seeing him as a husband and a dad makes me very, very proud.
“Now I have to figure out how to find that feeling.” I said, “Do they like make a pill or something? You know, like “Securitol…for that feeling of living the life you want to be living?”
He laughed knowing it was, again, mostly…and said to me in a tone of voice I don’t know that I’ve ever heard from him;
“You’ve been 30 since you were in your teens, you just gotta figure out how to be where you are without worrying about where you’re supposed to be” he said.
Which really made some things fall in to place for me. I mean, I’ll be damned. I never really thought of it that way. But it’s part of the deal, right? I mean, the kid grew up and became the best of my parents and I…well…
Let’s just say that Kid Brother went from a Jackson Pollack to a Rockwell, and I’m shaking my Etch-a-Sketch and starting over.
And that tone of voice? He sounded like an older brother.
Me, Kid Brother, and baby #1, the perfect Cameron.