Monday, June 1, 2009
It's my little brother Ben's birthday. My little brother who is 6'2 and has been my big little brother since I was 16 and he was 13. He's pretty much the most remarkable man I have ever met. I copied a bit about him from my mom's blog...
Today is such a special day! June 1st is the day I welcomed my adorable, gigantic son into the world at an ounce under ten pounds. And, of course, the doctor did NOT get there in time to administer anesthetic, so I delivered this giant infant virtually “natural.” He was a delightful, super-bouncy boy who never got sick in his life. I attribute this to the fact that I ate like a pig during the entire pregnancy and gained 50 lbs. Oddly, I was only down to 145 lbs a week later. Go figure!
Ben was a chaotic joy as a child, forever with that thousand-watt grin, charging through the house at top speed, scooping thing off shelves and tables on his way past them in order to hear the delightful reverberations of things crashing, breaking, and screaming (I was the one breaking and screaming). We called him “Ben the Wrecker.”
Ben was often tender and kind, too, trying to pick up the emotional and household-job ends that Jim sometimes dropped, feeling the self-imposed obligation to make me happy. That is too big a burden for a kid, so I officially announced to him his release from that job at age 16. Just to see if I meant it, he acted like a bratty, irresponsible teenager for a few years until I was glad, GLAD to see him off on his mission with not one tear for his departure.
In years since, we have become the BEST adult friends, and Ben is my delight. Whenever we visit, he always takes me on an adventure date: once canoeing down a river -- eating tons of ripe blackberries from wild bushes along the shores. Another time we took a long walk through a deep woods, stopping midway to discuss philosophy. Last year we went gold panning in what passes for mountains in Oregon, and found a couple of molecules of the precious metal. (He was also rehearsing the for a boy scout camp-out later on.)
Nobody could be a better son than my Ben. Not only is he handsome, polite, considerate, (helpful, friendly, clean, courteous, reverent, etc) (he is the personification of scoutmaster in his ward). Plus he is a loving husband and father to his wife and children. I envy them! He competes in triathlons, can do anything from cabinet making to car repair, designs anything on a computer, and is still as cheerful as he was as a little kid.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY WONDER-BEN!
A few memories to add to that...
I remember when Ben got caught trying to steal a Mercedes hood ornament off a car. We were from Detroit, and it was cool to wear them.
I remember graciously inviting a very young Ben to drag a mattress into my room to sleep when it was stormy outside and our parents were out. (It was really because I was scared, not because he was.)
I remember when Ben took me fly fishing. I caught a 15 inch cutthroat! And Ben was happy for me instead of being jealous.
I remember the summer when I was 13 and we went sailing on our dad's new boat. We wore the same shoe size for those few short weeks.
I remember teaching Ben to drive my stick shift. He rear ended a lady at a stop light.
I remember finding a package of C4 explosive under my mom's house, left there by Ben. It actually wasn't real. But it looked real. Clay, label, fuses, the works. I thought any minute it would explode and blow my arms off. Turns out it was for a game of hitman (or what was it called?) he had going with some friends.
I remember Ben sending me a letter from his mission asking me to order flowers for his then girlfriend for Valentine's Day. So thoughtful!
I remember Ben playing Rapunzel's prince in his high school musical of Into The Woods and ROCKING IT.
I remember dancing the jive with Ben at a college dance. He was game for anything.
I remember singing duets with Ben. In high school, at funerals, around the house. Our version of A Whole New World is pretty freaking awesome.
I remember Ben teaching me to golf.
I remember laughing with Ben a lot, on pretty much every occasion we've ever been together. You just can't help it; Ben is joy incarnate.
He's one of the smartest, most ambitious, friendly, confident, hilarious, hairy, kind, thoughtful, even-tempered, cheap, loyal, wonderful people ever. There's no one like him. He's one in a million. No, a billion.
Happy Birthday, Bean. I love you.