Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Having (considerably) older siblings

This week my brother Mark and sister Debbie have birthdays (Deb's is actually today). They are two years apart, but they have always shared a birthday week.

I will not tell you how old they are, though I will say the age difference between us can be measured in double-digit years.

I will also add that, when I was born in November 1969, my oldest sister Judi was in her junior year of high school and was only 3 1/2 months from turning 17.

While not exactly rare, it is uncommon nowadays for a 17-year-old to have a newborn baby brother. Trust me when I say it was even more uncommon in 1969.

As the story goes, my siblings found out my mom was pregnant not from Mom herself, but from our Aunt Peg. I don't know if Mom was unsure how they would react or what, but I'm told they were all pretty thrilled by the idea of having a little brother or sister.

There was a time when all six of us lived in a 900-square-foot house with no upstairs, no basement, and only one bathroom. I don't remember that time because it all happened during the first two years of my life, but having spent 22 years in that same house myself, I can imagine how chaotic it must have been.

By the time I was in kindergarten, Judi and Mark were both married (he would later join the Air Force and spend several years overseas). And while Debbie technically lived with us, I don't remember seeing her all that much.

I always say I was essentially raised an only child, even though I'm the youngest of four.

As often happens as we age, I'm much closer to Debbie and Mark now than I ever was as a kid (and I was close to Judi before she passed away). We don't see each other as often as I might like, though Debbie cuts my hair every two weeks and, as of this writing, Mark and I were planning to take in a baseball game together this week.

All the same, I hope this is the happiest of birthday weeks for my brother and sister. My much, much older brother and sister.

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