The Adventures of Kidney Boy

A Journal About Living With End Stage Renal Disease. Dialysis. Transplants. Love. Family. Friends. The Unsung Donor. This is my life, from the end of a needle to the bottom of a pill bottle.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hermanos

NOTE:  I wrote this one a few months back - and for some reason it never posted.   So I thought I'd share it now.

I'm the middle child.  I have two amazing brothers, and you know - I love them dearly.  Being a brother is a funny thing - with my siblings, we've always had a unique experience.  My older brother, Alex, is 6 and a half years older than me.  David, my younger brother, is two years younger than me.  I've always had a close relationship with both of them, and that has continued on into my adult life.

As a child, I remember just idolizing my older brother.  He always seemed so cool to me - he always liked the coolest stuff - video games, music, girls.... we lived in a house in North Syracuse when I was young, and I shared a room with David - Alex's room was across the hall, but the rooms were connected by this little attic crawlspace.  I could easily walk through it, and I'd often go through it to pop up in Al's room.  I'd come in, and bother him.  I remember once coming in to show him how I could count to 100... by 1's, 5's and 10's.  Al was always cool to me, even though I was so much younger and annoying.  As we got older and he got into high school, I remember him having friends over, and me - ever the showman - would always try and charm his lady-friends, who would say I was "so cute".  I, of course, HATED the attention and tried to get away.  (This is a complete lie.  He would often have to shoo me away.)  He'd bring me to sports games at the high school, and I'd sit with the big kids and I was never so happy.

I was a bit  of a pill to my brother Dave.  I think he really got it bad from me, as the "older" brother, I tried to enforce my will on him at every step.  Dave, to his credit, was more patient with my antics than some people would have been.  I think he just dealt with me - though for years we'd fight like cats and dogs.   There's a funny family story where my Dad went to put on a tape of Christmas Music he'd made - only to find that I'd erased half of it with a homemade recording.  Apparently, one day when Dave and I were fighting, I threw a tape in the recorder and taped us fighting.  I used a lot of "choice" teenage language in that tape!  When we heard this later on, with our pre-pubescent voices swearing at each other, it was more funny than anything else.

But Dave and I were tight, being so close in age.  We did a lot of things together, growing up, and shared a lot of the same friends.  I wasn't always the easiest kid to get along with, but Dave was oddly protective of me.  When I started playing guitar, I wasn't very good - and a lot of my friends and neighborhood kids would put me down about it.  Dave stood up for me, and encouraged me.  Eventually, I got better, and played in several bands - Dave used to come to all my gigs, screaming and shouting for me.  He was always "that guy".  My biggest fan.  When I was in college, he and Alex would often both come to my gigs, and they both raised a ruckus supporting me.  I don't think I would have enjoyed myself so much on stage had they not been there.

My brothers have always been amazing part of my life, and my support.  When I first got sick, it was Alex's urging that kept me alive.  He had just had his first daughter, and as I was willing to give up and end my life there, he burst into my room demanding that "I tell my niece she has to grow up never knowing her Uncle."  I can still see his face, furious in intensity, sadness in tears.... urgent.... I will carry that image in my head until the day I finally do expire.

Being a brother isn't an easy thing; we've argued and fought over the years.  Sometimes, so hard that we don't speak for some times.   But the love we all feel for each other is so intense and so palpable, I can't even describe it.  Though it is certainly one of the intangible things that fuels me to keep going.  They are a gift to me, and a gift to my family.  I can't even say how much I love them.

It's one of the things I love about the holidays; seeing both of them as we spend time with our parents.   It's one of those things that I cherish more than all the presents under all the trees in the world.

I love my brothers.  So much, it's silly.  Sometimes, I feel like I don't tell them enough.  But I do - I just love them so damn much.  I love how smart they are, I love how amazing they are and I love that they're mine.  I just want them to be the best they can be and to ultimately be as happy as they can be.  I know I wouldn't be who I am today without them.

~Steve

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