Tuesday, December 17, 2013

My Brother, the parent

When I was ten years old, my mother flew to Budapest for the weekend to take care of some business leaving my brother in charge. We spent most of the day playing games on his computer that we hooked up to the living room TV, something we only got to do when our parents were not home, but when it was time for me to go to my room and do homework I wasn't feeling so well. I was coming down with a fever that night, a prelude to a few days later turned out to be severe case of tonsillitis. Yet my brother thought I was faking it or just didn't feel he could let me not do my school work and he famously made me sit at desk for a few hours anyway. That story became quite famous in our family. My brother jokes that the way mom tells it, with him sitting me " right under the desk lamp's hot light bulb"  it sounds as if the lamp, the desk and the homework were the things that actually made me sick. It was also her way to illustrate how all hell's breaking loose as soon as she leaves us together. Truth of the matter is, he was never the type to enjoy taking care of other people. When my parents ordered him to take me out on my bicycle he told me to do laps around the courtyard while he was plying ball with his friend. I managed to flip to the side and cut my arm right under his watch, not an easy thing to do with a three regular sized-wheel bike. Over the last few years I wrote quite extensively about parenthood. How it's something that most people succeed in instinctively and when the time comes they rise to the occasion.   With that said I really wanted to recognize my brother for the amazing parent he became. When I first heard he was becoming a father I thought to myself "I never even knew he liked children around". And I wasn't there when he was transforming- first with his son, then with his daughter that came soon after. It's not the person that recognize from my childhood. Loving and dedicated, just can't wait to rush home and spend time with his kids. Savoring every moment.  Perhaps it's because how young my niece and nephew are and there will come a time when saying those things becomes embarrassing, but he makes sure he tells them he loves them and that they say it back. When we were little although we always knew our parents loved us I don't really remember verbalizing it. I don't think we ever spoke about our emotions much at all. Thankfully he doesn't have to deal with a disability in the family, but I have no doubt he'd not only grab that challenge by the horns, but be on the forefront of every innovation, method and the latest research. I guess parenting changes people and gives them strength to face whatever   comes. And in that way, whenever I hear from parents of kids Cerebral Palsy who have doubts of what to do and how to do it, I think that although I have no idea of what it's like to be a parent I look to my brother for inspiration. You'll know what to do when the time comes.

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