Opened up the mailbox like a typical-ass day. There's a red envelope. An invitation. My brother and his fiance, Jackie, are throwing a barbecue in a couple weeks as a chance to mingle the families. I found myself wiping tears off the invitation as I looked it over.
1. My baby brother, at 22, has a house, a beautiful woman by his side, a beautiful precious baby boy on the way, and is throwing his first-ever barbecue, complete with cute invitations in the mail. I've watched each stage of his life unfold and I can't believe how quickly he's gotten it together. I love him with an intensity that is scary. I can't imagine how I will feel about my own kids, if I ever have any, if this is how I feel about my brother. I'm so proud of him. He has truly gotten his life together and quickly too. I remember all too well the days I would wake up to a ringing phone and my mother frantically telling me all the mess that my brother had gotten himself into...the random hole in the dining room wall that's the perfect size of someone's head....the ring of rust in the bathtub, the exact same size as a keg....the 20 pairs of Victoria Secret panties strewn around his room after she'd been gone for a weekend.....the pounds of marijuana she found stashed around her house.....the morning she left for work and found him asleep in the garage, his driver from the previous night was too pussy to ring the doorbell so they kindly left his passed-out body in the garage.....the morning he called her from jail asking for a ride home. Just everything that he's done, everything he put my parents through, it all just seems like someone else did it. The young man that we see today is not that person. Everytime that Justin Timberlake song comes on, I think about him. The old him really is dead and gone. Now, he can still party and cut the hell up when he gets ready, but he really does have it together now. It's enough to bring tears to my eyes.
2. I, as well as the rest of my family, have to prepare for a summer of cooking out without my dad. I don't even know if my brother's barbecue is good...he learned from the best, but I've never ate anything that he grilled. My father used to put on with the cookouts. They were famous. When Keith McGee fired up the grill, you had better hope you were around before the food was gone. If my dad said he was grillin, I would call off work and everything. It was worth it. What's more important....a day's pay, or shootin the shit with family and friends, eatin some fire-ass food, and drinkin cold beer as the sun goes down?? Obviously option number 2. I am so thankful that I had the sense to realize that at the time and I have all the memories and whatnot from those times with him that I can't get back. I just can't even imagine a cookout without him. The barbecued food I remember most is from a night that I was 17. My mother had cut my hair for the very first time, so I walked through the house to find him and noticed him out on the patio, standin over the grill, turnin chicken. I watched him pause, grab his beer, and bottoms up on it. I flung the door open and he looked up at me as I stood there with less than an inch of hair, and in his shock and surprise, spit the beer all over the grill. He broke out in a huge grin and told me how great it looked. I've never really been real pressed about having my mother's approval for anything...his was all I was truly after. Anyhow, that night we ate delicious food. He made me promise to keep it a secret that he spit beer all over it. I guess just summer in general is going to be hard to deal with. He got attacked by birds once because he was sittin out on the deck on a cool spring evening and began doing bird calls....he was so talented at it, that two male birds kept coming closer and closer to him and he kept doing the mating call or whatever, and the two male birds got territorial, I guess...and they flew past him and upside his head with some real intensity...he had scratches. This time of year makes me think about those things. I know that my brother's shindig is going to be pretty tough. Just that laid back atmosphere, I can't believe we won't share anymore cookouts together. Again, it brought on a lot of tears.
I'll never underestimate the power of a little invitation in the mail again...
- ▼ April (10)