Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Happy Birthday

Today is my brother’s birthday.  I remember the tension surrounding his birth if not the details.  He was born a month early due to gestational hypertension.  Young children were not allowed in the maternity unit, but I was smuggled in by a group of adults who formed a circle around me.  He was small, red, wrinkled and screaming.  I had never seen a newborn before and I remember thinking that he wasn’t quite what I had been expecting.

If he had been able to have an opinion, he might have said that we weren’t quite what he was expecting either.  He was born into a family on the verge of major emotional and financial crisis.  He arrived just in time to experience the pain and stress of a disintegrating family.  I mention this not to dwell on past hurts, but to express my admiration for the person he has become in spite of the circumstances surrounding his birth and childhood.
He had no male role models.  Our father has never been what you would call role model material.  Our uncles lived far away in Mexico City.  All my brother had was a mom and two sisters who dressed him up in girl’s clothes as a baby and made him watch romantic comedies throughout his adolescence.   We might have prepared him well for relating to girls later on, but we probably didn’t do such a great job showing him what it meant to grow into a man.  He had to figure that out on his own.  It might have seemed like uncharted territory, but he succeeded.
He is a husband and a father now.  He excels at a job that nobody taught him to do.  I would like to think that we, my sister, my mom, and I, had a hand in helping him become a genuinely generous and loving human being, because he is.  I can’t take any more credit than that.