All of us have friends that we have made because we shared a class or a neighborhood, but there is nothing like a friendship with someone with whom you have shared pair after pair of hand-me-down pants. For me, that friend is my brother Sean.
There is an old saying which states that you can’t choose your family, but somebody up there was sure looking out for me when they chose my brother.
Like most younger siblings, I have followed Sean in just about everything I have done. I followed him as we walked to grade school. I followed him to high school and college. When he started wearing parachute pants…..well, I stayed behind on that one.
This Sunday, he is leading the way to a place that the little kid in the picture above never saw coming. He is turning 40.
Last week, I wrote about watching Sean’s two sons, and while I was with them I couldn’t help but look back on my relationship with my brother. While most kids can’t wait for their younger siblings to stop pestering them, there was never a day on which Sean wouldn’t make time for me. With his friends, it was always understood that his weird kid brother was part of the deal. (And I was most definitely weird)
He is someone who I always looked up to, even if he would change the rules of Freeze Tag mid-game if he was losing or always make me play Tonto to his Lone Ranger. As kids, he was the good one, and didn’t always make the greatest partner for youthful shenanigans. He would roll over on himself (and me) in a second if our parent’s discovered that we had peeked at the racecar set they had bought us for Christmas. I played dumb, despite the fact that there were really only two possible suspects in the house.
This may be damning him with faint praise but, of the two of us, he was most definitely the cool one. Whether he was going through his preppy “Sweater Boy” phase or his skater look which led to my Dad sending him back to the barber when he came home with a feathered mullet, Sean was the Theo Huxtable (or insert a current cool kid reference) of 622 Lynn Haven Ln.
He has always treated everyone like a friend. When he was young, he would ask kids that he met in line at the store if they would like to come over to our house. As a teenager, he brought over kids who didn’t have any family in town to join us for Thanksgiving. As an adult, he makes his living by helping people.
My brother is a devoted father and husband, a great friend and the hardest working person I know. As he turns 40 this weekend, I can only hope that I can continue to follow in his footsteps.
You are my brother. I love you.
Happy birthday Sean.