Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Just don't call him baby

When we were children, my older sister Denise, younger brother David and I were like any other set of siblings. We fussed and fought and hung out watching television and snacking until our mother got home from her job at the courthouse. David went through a phase where he always wanted to watch Popeye. Of course, it's not like there five hundred channels to choose from back in the 1970s so Denise and I suffered through Popeye to watch The Flintstones, Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch.

HewittsI am ashamed of how we treated David sometimes. He was just a little boy, but to us he was the enemy. He was the Godzilla stomping through Barbieland, the pencil wielding homicidal maniac who stabbed the rag bodies of baby dolls, the kid who scribbled over my neatly colored pages in coloring books, the hair puller when I hurled the epithet Baby David his direction. Yeah, I deserved that bald spot.

But when he sunk down in his red bean bag chair in front of the TV and uttered the words "will someone make me a PBJ," either Denise or I would make him one without even spitting on it. We loved him and his sweet dimpled cheeks. My first memory of him is when my mother rocked him as a baby swaddled in a blanket. I clung to the back of the chair my toes curled around the rocker's runners and we sang. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Despite the horror of living with two older sisters and having survived the torture we bestowed upon him, Dave grew up to be a man I'm proud to call my brother. He's a great father, I hope he's a wonderful husband, he has an important job serving his community and he's a great son. He's a much better son than I am a daughter. He's also a talented graphic artist and now he's writing, too, about his love of the outdoors.

Aside from the crazy pride I feel for him, I also enjoy reading Dave's blog because it gives me insight into this man I grew up with, I get to see the past through his eyes. His perspective and experiences are unique.

As the only son and the youngest, Dave had a different relationship with our parents, especially with our father. They spent a lot of time together and while I don't want to give you the impression that it was all back-slapping manly jocularity, the two of them definitely shared interests, information and a language that none of us womenfolk (what?) understood.

When I see my own son Nate and my husband together, I have a better idea of what my brother's relationship is like with our father. Nate reminds me of David - impatient, energetic, occasionally hot-tempered, keenly observant, a deep thinker. At his core sensitive and kind with high expectations for justice. Sometimes when I'm not paying attention, I call Nathan by my brother's name.

Today our father turns seventy-five and Dave wrote a touching and funny post about Dad's influence on him. I wanted to share it with you because you all seem like part of the family, too.

I know, I'm sorry. You didn't ask to be part of this dysfunction, did you?

Also there's a post at that other blog.


  1. He still has those dimples! I always wanted a brother, especially after my sister was born. The sibling is always greener . . . or something . . .

    Happy birthday to your dad!

  2. ...without even spitting on it.

    And that kind of love made him the man he is today.


  3. "...the pencil wielding homicidal maniac who stabbed the rag bodies of baby dolls..." Yeah, we've got one of those. I hope ours turns out to be just like your bro. What a lovely guy he became. And happy birthday to your dad! 75! That's incredible. I'm off to read that other blog...

  4. That's really great stuff. Your brother has a marvelous, succinct style I need to emulate. Wish you Dad happy birthday from the gang.

    My sisters tell me they enjoy reading the rare things I write about my parents, because they learn things and see a perspective they didn't have. As the youngest, like your brother, I think I saw through their eyes a lot more clearly than they could see through mine.

    Also, like your brother, I understand the difference between "coddled" and "spoiled". I, too, was coddled - with three older sisters and their girlfriends what else would I be? - but was never spoiled.

  5. my gem of wisdom- cherish this time

  6. Yeah, you chicks didn't spit in it. Your maudlinism's fooling no one!

  7. Such a lovely story Lisa. Thanks for sharing. :)

  8. Happy Birthday to your Dad.
    I think your Mom's eyelids look good.

  9. what a sweet big sister thing to do...promote your little brother's blog. makes up for all the "Baby David"-isms so many years ago.

    you look gorgeous and your hair is perfect in that pic.

  10. What a man. I have a special place in my heart for a guy who grows up with sisters. I'm married to one, and he always puts the seat down.

  11. That's a great photo of the five of you. :) Happy Birthday to your Dad (a day late.) Now I'm off to your Bro's place!

  12. From your description he reminds me of one of my brothers - right down to the hairpulling!

  13. A few years ago, we came across a video of my then toddler older son singing Baa-Baa Black Sheep to his little brother, who was sitting in a baby swing. It is the sole sweet moment that I can recall in all their growing years together. Fortunately, they finally became cordial to each other in their late teens. According to son #2, his older brother finally became nicer. And the older one says son #2 became more normal.

    Me? I'm exhausted but relieved.


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