the family renaissance man

All I wanted my first 12 years of life was a baby sister. Granted I had my brother Nathan, a virtual mini me who didn’t eat unless I was hungry and who hung on my every word and command. But he grew tired of my dressing him up in my clothes. In an assertion of independence, he got a haircut. I could no longer play with his golden locks. My brother refused to pretend he was my sister.

Then when I was 12 years old my mom got pregnant. This was it! The baby sister I’d longed for. I was sure she was carrying a girl. Life would not be so cruel as to saddle me with a second brother.

I took Lamaze classes with my mom, intent on being present in the delivery room. I wanted to buy pink baby linens and clothes but Mom would only consent to gender neutral yellow and green. It was a torturous nine months waiting for her to arrive.

When my mom went into labor, I was in bed with a fever of 101. There was no way the doctor was going to let me greet my baby sister into the world. Those many hours when my mom was at the hospital, in the dark days before text, cell phones the Internet, my brother and I waited patiently. Time dragged. Which flavor sibling would we get?

Alas, I didn’t get what I wanted. Really? Another boy? But then my mom brought him home, and he was pretty darn cute. I quickly forgave him his Y chromosome. Early on he had a killer sense of humor. We gave him a nickname I won’t publicize. He was a favorite among my friends, making a cameo appearance in my Senior project, a film on the Children’s Crusade. Did I give him the acting bug? Maybe.

He followed his dream, majored in drama and after college made a name for himself in the Seattle theater scene. Once he mastered the stage, he picked up the banjo and a few months later was touring with an alt-rock band. He forges iron. (I have a nice fire tool to prove it.) He recently discovered a hidden talent: math. My little brother is a calculus genius. It didn’t surprise me. He excels at everything he tries.

I don’t get to see our family renaissance man nearly often enough and mostly catch glimpses of his life on Facebook. (His updates are hilarious.) I’m only disappointed that he doesn’t live closer. I wish Jack and Collin had more regular interactions with their sarcastic, smart, sensitive Uncle Banty, who just completed another turn around the sun.

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