(Picture resizing makes me cry; if you want to see the whole picture, click on it!)

Once upon a time, my mother ruined my life. Except it wasn’t that time she made us take pictures in bluebonnets. It was an even earlier, more different time. It happened 22 years ago today and my life has been forever changed by my mother’s selfish, SELFISH actions.

You see, on March 16, 1989, my mother done went and had herself another kid. And just like that, my coveted, much-loved position as Baby of the Family was STOLEN by a screaming alien child:
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Ew. And also, bleh.
I did not take kindly to the new, strange child thrust upon my life:
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(It’s possible I was considering if I could smother him with my hand and get away with it.)
For the first year of my brother’s life, I did my best to pretend he didn’t exist. I ignored his cries, rolled my eyes when he made a mess of strained peas (STUPID BABY. DON’T YOU KNOW HOW TO EAT PEAS?), and sized up the ladies exclaiming over him in the grocery store to see if they might be interested in purchasing him. (None were.) I acted out by cutting my hair short (if my parents wanted a boy so damn badly, I would show them how much I could look like a boy!). 1989 was a very rough year for me.
But then something happened. As the stupid, no good, can’t eat sold foods, smelly unwanted alien got older, he got cuter. He started to say words and toddle around the house. And even more than all of that, he decided he worshiped me. I don’t know if it was his evil plan all along but before I knew it, I’d fallen in love with my tiny brother. He was cool. He was FUN. I could dress him up in Cabbage Patch clothes! (Only the once, really. My stepdad wasn’t happy to see his only son decked out in a tutu and a kicky beret. No pictures exist. Sadly.) I began to consider life as an older sister. And when, the summer Eric was two and I was visiting family in Montana, he slept with my picture in his crib? My fierce older sister protectiveness kicked in and I never looked back.
When Eric (or Eri, as I call him) was 3, he found an old Cabbage Patch preemie doll in the toy box. It was a tiny bald thing, belonging to either my sister or myself, long forgotten and abandoned. Eri decided that baby was HIS baby and oh how he loved her. He would carry her everywhere, gently putting her to bed and letting her sit next to him at the table. The best part was when some well-meaning stranger would ask him, “Oooh, what is your baby’s name?” and Eri would smile and reply, “Douche-y.”
(To this day, we have no idea where he came up with that name. But I loooove making fun of him for it. And now the Internet can make fun of him too! Happy birthday, kid!)
As my brother grew, he got cuter and cuter. I shall now prove my point with a ridiculous series of photos:
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See? You try loathing that face. You can’t do it. It doesn’t happen. That kid had us all wrapped around his finger. To this day, if we are all home together, all he has to do is bat his super long (horribly unfair they are so long) eyelashes at me and the next thing I know I’m making him a damn cherry pie. He isn’t just cute, you see. My brother is Ferris Bueller. He oozes charm, but it’s genuine and mixed with kindness. If I didn’t love him so damn much, he’d drive me crazy. Nobody should be that charming. It’s dangerous, his charm, even when he’s too stupid to realize he should be HUMILIATED by having his picture taken in bluebonnets:
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My brother is also kind of brilliant. When faced with a problem, he’s quick to engineer a smart solution. Take for example Oreos. You know how you want to dip the entire cookie in the milk but you DON’T want to get your fingers all wet and milky? Impossible, you say? NAY, I say back! Enter Eric’s patented Oreo method:
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Brilliant.
Of course, being a mad genius makes a person prone to bouts of narcolepsy. My brother is also quite skilled at falling asleep and sleeping through anything. Again I offer a series of photographic evidence:
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You would be exhausted too, if you went on half the adventures Eri does. This kid is a mad soccer player. He also can wakeskate, waterski, surf, kayak, barefoot, kneeboard, mountain bike, winch, and something else involving jumping a cliff on a bike and landing in water. Please to observe:
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(That last one kind of scares the hell out of me.)
I’m so proud of my brother, you guys. This kid has come through some serious shit in his life. He’s worked hard and has turned into an awesome guy, easy going and kind. He can make me laugh until I’m crying and even has promised he’ll come visit me in Seattle someday. SOMEDAY. He’s kicking ass at A&M and works full time managing the Geek Squad. But most of all, this is a guy who knows how to love. He isn’t ashamed to love his family, even when we are weirder than he is (which we are, often). He walked my sister down the aisle when she married the love of her life and he called me often to check on me when my heart was broken. And when he plays a joke on our mother that goes too far, he sends her apology gardenias, her favorite flower. And those are just a few of the reasons we love him so much.
So here’s to you, Brotha Man. May 22 be an amazing year for you.
May you always have a pup to cuddle:
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Weird sisters who love you:
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A cherry pie with a birthday candle:
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And a cold one:
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As a special treat, I will now transcribe, verbatim, the conversation I plan to have with my brother after he reads this. AND as luck would have it, I have a picture of him having this conversation with me! (This is how I imagine his face looks whenever he talks to me on the phone.):
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Me: Happy birthday Eri!! Did you see my blog post?
Him: I totally did! You are the greatest sister in the whole wide world! Way better than any of my other siblings and/or family members who did NOT write a blog post just for me. Also, you are pretty! AND you have a keen eye for design and sharp wit! I only can hope I’m as awesome as you are by the time I am 30.
Me: You are so sweet to say such things! I am sending your pressie soon, btw.
Him: Oh, don’t! Just having you in my life is present enough. Really, I should be sending *you* a present! In fact, since it’s highly likely I will be rich within the next 5 years, how about I just promise to put YOU through college? AND then I’ll buy you a house as a graduation present! AND I’ll even establish a fat trust fund for you! How does that sound?
Me: You are such a sweet, caring brother.
Him: I learned it from you, B. I learned it by watching you.
(Happy birthday Eri Bo! Your favorite middle sister loves you the most!)
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