Saturday, March 18, 2006

Oh Brother...

Time it was
And what a time it was
It was
A time of innocence
A time of confidences
Long ago ... it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They're all that's left of you

"Bookends Theme" by Simon and Garfunkel

As I've been sifting through the photographs I've been scanning as part of my family tree project I've run across quite a few shots of my older brother Dan and I. That's him on the left in the photograph above.

Dan's birthday is coming up tomorrow, the day after mine. This always confused me as a child. He is my older brother yet his birthday was the day after mine. In my toddler brain, that should have made him my younger brother.

I can imagine me being born the day before his birthday pissed him off. He was the 4-year old baby of the family and boom, I came along and messed up his birthday celebration and moved him up into the middle child slot. I don't think he ever really forgave me for that.

I marvel sometimes how different my brothers and I grew up to be. Ted, my oldest brother ended up in a near nameless small town in Oregon working for the highway department. Dan stayed in Boise and became a teacher. I ended up Seattle and by default, marketing. And in this era where you reach out to someone on the other side of the world in the blink of an eye, my brothers and I rarely talk.

I sometimes wonder if it is because time creates distance that can't be bridged with small talk. It's hard to share hopes, dreams and disappointments in annual visits on holidays. I know the Cliffnote versions of my brother's lives, but that is about all. We share common parents, but not opinions or paths.

And it is not that I don't love or care about my brothers. I look at the photos and realize that they may not be part of my day to day life, but they will always be in my memories and in my heart.

So to my big brother Dan, I wanted to wish you a happy birthday and tell you I'm proud of you. I have always kept the newspaper clip that the Idaho Statesman ran about your first year teaching and I think you produced a couple of amazing children (though I don't think they realize how lucky they are to have an uncle like me). And I wanted to remind you, that just like at your wedding, I will always be the best man.

I had to get that shot in. He's my brother after all.

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