Today I was going to do one post about both of my brothers, but as I was starting to write this, I realized that while they have some similarities, they are also very different and they both deserve their own post. So today (as he is nearing 50) I’m picking on celebrating my baby brother – but stay tuned for a post about brother # 2 soon to follow, cuz he’s just as awesome! Being the oldest child in a family can sound like a pretty good gig in theory: you’re given a few younger siblings you can boss around whenever you want, you can pull the seniority card as needed, and you get the added bonus of knowing you had at least 3 years where you were given every single bit of attention your parents had. But then it all changes, life as you know it, is no more. Someone else comes on the scene and you are no longer the apple of your parents’ eye. This was my life lol!
When I was 6 years old, my parents introduced me to my youngest brother for the first time. I remember waking up and my grandparents were at the house and mom and dad were at the hospital having him. To be honest, I don’t even recall my mom being pregnant. I just think they never made a big deal about it; life went on and nobody ever talked about her being pregnant, pregnancy didn’t seem to slow her down. Not like when I was pregnant, I was whiney and as big as a house and I moved like a bulldozer knocking things off tables with my belly every time I turned around. I never saw him until he was brought home from the hospital, but I vividly recall the day my parents brought him home to meet my other brother and me. It was Halloween and they had him in a little racoon hat and tail and I thought he was the cutest darn thing I had ever seen, although my 6-year-old self wanted to trade him in for a dog and a new pony, I guess it’s OK though that Mom and Dad said no, because I can’t imagine my life without him now. So, today I will pay homage to him by writing this letter that he will likely never see, because I don’t think he reads my blog, but then again, he just may surprise me! It certainly isn’t the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last either! Here it goes:
It was clear from a very young age just how different we were from each other. I was chatty, you were quiet, I was loud and outgoing, you were timid (at first that is) not so much anymore. We had a great life growing up, but after mom and dad divorced, there were also some really hard & dark times and because of our age gap, you were left at home alone which meant that you had it the hardest of all of us. However, we still learned to travel this path of life with each other and have created one of the most balanced relationships I have. My relationship with you has always been easy. We rarely fought and when we did, it was usually because I was being mean to you. I’m sorry for that. We speak the same language; we laugh at the same jokes and we have the same sense of humor. I love how we usually start laughing and can’t get the words out when we try to tell a funny story, but we both know……We know we are funny as sh&^ . I love that we have inside jokes that only the 2 of us gets. It’s fun watching everyone else roll their eyes at us and shake their head while trying to decipher what the heck the joke is all about and not really seeing anything funny at all. Even now, as we are separated by the circumstances in our lives that seem to take up most of our time, I feel more connected to you than ever before. Thank you for checking on me most days, I know you are a busy guy, but please know that unlike having a mammogram, I look forward to your check-ups. Thank you for answering when I call and thank you for always being there when I need you.
I feel like you have always been popular, a real people person, but you can also be quite the clown. As far back as I can remember, people have been drawn to you. And your sense of humor kills me, it’s honestly one of a kind. I know if you are reading this, you want me to say that I try to be as funny as you and that I never will be blah blah blah. But that’s not true so get used to the fact that you will never hear that Coming out of my mouth. But what I will say is that you do have a quick and unique sense of humor and whenever I need some sort of laugh on a bad day, I know that I can trust you to deliver. You also think you are hilarious, I admire your comedy confidence. I love the sparkle in your eye and the cackle of your laughter. Don’t ever lose that
You were only 15 years old when mom passed away and even though dad was still alive, you came to live with us. It was a tough conversation but I talked to dad and told him I thought it would be the best thing for you To come and live with us and he agreed. At that time I was an emotional wreck and made the best decision I could for all of us and….Do I regret it? NOT for one minute however, I do sometimes feel guilty because I may have taken away the opportunity for you to build a strong relationship with dad, but I am still confident that it was the best thing for you in the long run and I would do it again if needed. You have turned out to be an amazing man and I couldn’t be prouder of you. Through it all, you thrived and made lemons out of lemonade, not everyone can do that with grace and humility like you have .
You help keep me humble and grounded and believe me when I say that it usually requires a team of people to do that, but YOU are an integral part of that team. You have known me longer than almost anyone else in my life, so you really get me & you have a way of bringing me back to my roots, sometimes by just your smile, off handed remarks or a good old “what the hell are you thinking”. Sometimes I look at you and I see mom and dad pouring out, especially dad and I can’t help but smile and be amazed at the power that genetics has. I got the looks and the funnies (not the funny looks), you & brother # 1 got all the other stuff. Even though dad has now passed away, he will live on in you and I am left laughing my ass off about that.
Growing up with you, I was taught how to perfect my sarcasm, a skill we both used (and still use) to drive our loved one’s nuts. But even with all your sarcasm, you are surprisingly insightful, I don’t know when that happened however, I’m glad it did. Sometimes you can be a total dork, and other times you will say that exact thing I need to hear that I didn’t even know I needed to hear. And then you close it out with a burp or fart.
Little brother, I am thankful for your empathy – I love that you cried when I started wearing a bra because you didn’t want people to make fun of me, although it’s perfectly ok for you to make fun of me, quite the double standard I might add! However, it gives me insight into your soft heart and your fierce loyalty to those you love.
I know that you will always be right there with me through thick and thin, you’ve always been one of the first ones to say what can I do. When I was diagnosed with MS, you took the time to learn about the disease and what kind of things would affect me and your concern for me warms my heart. You continue to love me unconditionally with my faults and all of my messiness. You have supported me, cheered me on, given me (mostly) unbiased advice, and I can’t ever remember a time that you weren’t there for me. Over the years, It’s become evident to me that you are just getting better with age and I want you to always know that I am nothing more than a phone call away, and I will always answer, armed with advice, laughter, memories, and experience. I know that I don’t tell you this as much as I should, but I love you. And I’m proud of everything you are doing with your life and mom and dad would be too. If you are happy, I’m happy. If you are smiling, I’m smiling. Because of you, I stand a little taller, talk a little louder and laugh a little harder. You are one of my favourite people –
Thank you for being my brother. xo
Now, I am excited to share a new to me recipe – Cheddar Onion Bacon Perogies! My mother in law has been making them for years and I’ve been wanting to learn how to do them and this was the year! OMG, they are amazing!!! It’s an all day affair if you are by yourself, but its so much more fun if you make a party out of it and pinch with your buddies! Enjoy!
Cheddar Onion Bacon Perogies
Melt in your mouth yumminess that is perfect for a quick and simple dinner on the run
10 lbs of Russet Potatoes – peeled, boiled and mashed with butter (SAVE POTATO WATER)
3 packages of Imperial Cheese Spread (if you don’t have that, substitute grated cheddar cheese (to taste)
2 packages of bacon bits or 2 lbs of finely crumbled cooked bacon
2 large onions finely diced in a food processor and sautéed in butter
½ tsp onion powder
DirectionsCook potatoes until soft. Drain (saving the water). Mash the potatoes with butter. Add Cheese Spread (or cheddar cheese), bacon bits, onion powder and sautéed onions. Chill in fridge overnight.
6 Cups of Flour
2 Cups Potato Water
1 Tsp Salt
6 Tbsp Oil
Split dough into 3 equal portions. I leave 2 portions under my kitchen aid bowl to keep it warm while working with one portion. Roll dough 1/8” thick. Cut into a circle with canning lid. Flatten and make rounds larger, add 1 tsp or more filling. Pinch edges and put on cookie sheet lined with a tea towel being sure they don’t touch each other or they will stick together making a big ole’ mess. Gently fold towel over first layer and continue.
When cookie sheet is full, place in freezer then put in plastic bags and keep frozen until ready to use.
Note: You will likely need to make at least one more batch of the dough in order to use up all of the potatoes!