Today is a special day because it’s my baby brother’s birthday! Jimmy is 20 today, which is believable and unbelievable all at once. I was five years old and entering into kindergarten the year he was born. I remember being excited to tell my pre-school teacher that I was going to have a baby brother and I brought him in for show-and-tell once I got to kindergarten.
I didn’t take immediately to being an older sister. Punky Brewster was on at the time and if I remember correctly, the storyline was that her parents left her in a grocery store once they had another baby. This was a fear of mine and I guess one day after Jimmy was born, my mom found me standing in the doorway with a little backpack on and when she asked me what was up, I told her I was just waiting to be picked up by the adoption agency.
Yes, I’ve always been a drama princess.
Anyways, back to the birthday boy. Life changed quickly when he was born. There were now three of us, an odd number, but somehow it all clicked.
Though we tried, he did not let us dress him up, but I do remember putting his tuft of hair into pigtails once. He loved Elmo and superheroes, so much so that he only dressed in superhero costumes for the first five years of his life: Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Aquaman, Catwoman.
He loved to match his cape with a tie- and in one instance, his tie dropped in the bathroom and he stood crying in front of it because he didn’t want to touch the ground.
There was also the Hawaiian shirt craze.
For just two years of his life, he liked to vacuum. None of us could go to bed one Christmas Eve until he had fully vacuumed for Santa.
Trips to Disney World were just funnier with Jimmy hopping around yelling, “NI,” because he had just seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail and was obsessed. He also liked telling people he liked their costumes until a London guard did not find this funny standing outside of the Tower of London. His all-American spirit also got us in trouble Harrods as he tried to swing his way down the escalator and outside our Parisian hotel when he climbed the building.
At 14, he gave us all a scare when he fell during a hockey game and broke his back. He grew from it to become stronger, motivated to return to his normal self and even got back on the ice for his senior year of high school, a feat I’m not sure many could accomplish.
In college, he is only excelling. He has more ambition than I ever showed at that age, tackling jobs and internships and his studies and only going into his junior year after this summer.
20 years later and he’s still my baby brother, despite the fact that he’s now taller and stronger and funnier than me. The funny thing about Jimmy, is that he appears to be this big tough guy on the outside, but really he’s sensitive mush- in a good way!
To my funny, kind, smart, strong, brave brother. Happy birthday! Love ya!
*He’s going to be furious when he reads this post.