I don’t believe in birthdays. I believe in birthMONTHS. Birthmonths start on the 1st of the month and end on your birthday. So for example, if your birthday is on the 2nd- you get a 2 day birthmonth. AKA seriously gypped on the birthmonth phenomenon. In this department, my bro and I lucked out. Because we’re both born on the last day of the month. So we get the whole shbang. A WHOLE MONTH. And…. January is my little brother’s birthMONTH!
My brother doesn’t read my blog. And let’s be real here. He probably never will. But that’s not going to stop me from sending a shout out for his 24th BIRTHMONTH! To my brother. The one that lives in a parallel universe and would totally appreciate this token of love. And read my blog.
The brother-sister bond is a special one. Because you kinda hate each other most of your life. Until some pivotal thing happens in either of your lives… and then… and then you stick together like elmer’s white glue 12 hours later. REAL HARD. Or crazy glue 12 seconds later. Either analogy will work here.
He’s played a huuuuuuuuge role in the person I’ve become today… and regardless of how many times I’ve wished I was the only child , I love him with all my heart. And wouldn’t change him or his place in my life… for the world.
So here are some memories to illustrate how (wonderful) he is and how our relationship has changed over the years…
If you have a Sri Lankan mother, this will resonate with you. If you don’t, watch Russel Peters’ “somebody gonna get hurt real bad” video, and you’ll get the general gist of it. My mom had this huge long wooden spoon. Actually I should probably say she had many of them. Or she had many of them over the course of our childhood. Because they would break. Often. And no, not from kitchen-ly duties.
The wooden spoon, as many Sri Lankan children will tell you was not only used for mixing puttu dough, but also substituted for the long wooden cane. We lived in Canada. Parents didn’t have access to wooden canes (they were readily available throughout Sri Lanka). So they improvised. With a wooden spoon.
This wooden spoon was stored in the kitchen top drawer. Why is this detail important? Because the sound of opening and closing of this drawer could send us from comfortably relaxing on the couch watching tv to frantically running towards the washroom to lock ourselves in. Yes, the opening and drawing of a drawer in the kitchen could only mean one thing: mom was mad. Of course there were rare cases when she was actually just cooking and needed some cooking utensil. And even in those cases you could catch us running.
Anyway, my mom always thought I was too skinny. Too underweight to be physically punished. (or to be able to handle it) Whatever it was, this meant I never got hit with the wooden spoon. Sure, I got threatened. But never actually hit. Which only meant one thing: my brother got twice the beats from this wooden spoon. Ya, he got all MY beats too.
Reason #462 why every girl needs a brother.
The Teenage Years
One night, Heidi (my high school best friend and I) got this GREAT idea. That happened a lot back in the day. Great ideas I mean. Like the time we saw an island from the shore in Cuba. It looked so close. So we thought, hey let’s be all adventurous and… lets paddle boat there! Yes. Paddle boat. I don’t need to tell you how that adventure turned out.
So Heidi was sleeping over one day and we got this GREAT idea to sneak out. With the car. We were 15. Give us a break. But I will tell you that we planned these missions SO well that we’d put the MI team to shame. No detail was overlooked. Except for that tiny detail of having a goody-two-shoes little brother.
Who was awake.
And watching tv in the family room.
He stopped us. Obviously. Because walking out with my mom’s car keys when we didn’t have a driver’s license wasn’t suspicious at all.
We tried to sell him on coming with us for an adventure of a lifetime. A drive around the neighbourhood with his older sister who didn’t have a license. He didn’t budge. And basically told us that if we left the house, he was waking up mom and dad.
Reason #256 why having a younger goody-two-shoes brother totally cramps your style.
Adulthood… sorta. (I was 19, he was 17)
That pivotal thing I talked about up there… it happened in 2005 for us. I had moved away and he missed me. Ok. SO I missed him too. And I guess it took us 10,000 km to make our pivotal thing happen. And just like that. We were bonded. Elmer’s glue meets crazy glue bonded.
So it all happened one night… one day. Night in Sri Lanka. Day in Toronto. Or the other way around. The point is, we were 10,000 km apart. And some serious bonding was about to go down. Across borders. Across oceans. Across timezones…. And now I’m going to get to my story without being any more dramatic.
Bro: uh sis**, is mom a round?
Me: no, why… what’s up?
Bro: so uh I’ve gotta talk to you about something
Me: uh huh…
Bro: so there’s this girl.
Me: uh huh… (while in my head… FINALLY! HALLELUJAH! MY! BRO! IS! GROWING! UP! Do. The. Happy. Dance!!!) … ya I’m listening
Bro: so she’s really nice and I really like her…. It’s just that. It’s just that I didn’t feel right doing anything about it… or asking her out or anything… without you know…. Uh… telling you about her first.
And then. And then my heart melted from all the adorableness and cuteness of what I had just heard.
If you know my brother, you know he doesn’t do adorable. Or cute. He’s the World of Warcraft playing, grade 12 math teaching, iron chef watching guy. Oh and let me point out that the bit about grade 12 math? That was me he used to teach. While he was in grade 10. Ya, poster child. Clearly.
**my bro calls me sis. And while this may not warrant a story or explanation in most families, it sure does in my mine. And in keeping with today’s lets-embarrass-my-bro post… here’s that story: when we were younger, my mom insisted that my bro call me akka (Tamil for older sister) and I call him thamby (Tamil for younger brother) She insisted that we do this in public too. Yes, even at school.
Now for a couple of immigrant children, there’s nothing more embarrassing than showing just how different you are from the other kids by using a foreign language to address siblings. As if talking to siblings in school wasn’t embarrassing enough. But of course I happily obliged. I called my bro Thamby. And then all his friends started calling him Thumbelina. I was such an awesome sis, no?
So I guess at some point he figured he was never going to call me akka. And settled for a happy medium: sis. It made my mom happy – and he wouldn’t be further ridiculed by his friends.**
This picture is special for two reasons:
- it was taken on my 24th birthday
- if you know my bro, you’d know he never dresses up. So don’t let that shirt fool you. He’s wearing basketball shorts on the bottom and a tshirt underneath. But he put on that shirt because it was my birthday and he knew how important it was to me. And that right there? That’s love.
LOVE! YOU! BRO! and Happy happy birthmonth! Oh and that $120 I owe you…I was hoping this adorablesweetcute post would, kinda, you know, cancel that out. LOVE! YOU!