As the second child in my family — “the baby,” even though I am now in my mid-30s — I have never known life without my older brother. In my earliest memories, he is there. And from the time I could remember, I wanted to do everything he did. No one was funnier, smarter, or cooler than my big brother. Inexplicably, he often did not want to hang out with his clingy little sister, like the time he and a friend built a fort in the massive snowbank at the top of our driveway. Despite repeated requests to take part in this awesome undertaking, I was denied. And so, when they went in for lunch, I stomped through the fort’s roof.
My brother is a part of most of my favorite childhood memories — and not all of them involve my wrecking something he had painstakingly created. Most of our treasured shared memories are about the high jinks we pulled together. Like the time we loosened the pin connecting the wagon to my dad’s lawnmower. Dad drove off thinking he was hauling leaves, eventually realizing there was nothing behind him. One look at my brother and me laughing turned his confusion to anger. We got a stern talking-to about wasting time and general foolishness.