Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy 26th, brother

Two days ago, you texted me a photo of your brand-new Alabama license. And I was thrilled—I'm always one for candid shots: especially the birthday-cake one of you and Dad that so perfectly captures the mischievous twinkle in his eye because he knows you're annoyed and your expression of Oh-my-God-DAD-I-am-not-five-years-old-anymore. That is one of my most treasured photos.

But the work of art the Department of Motor Vehicles has put onto plastic for all time is truly awesome. At first glance I thought you looked like a criminal, perhaps someone picked up for swiping a powdered munchkin from Dunkin' Donuts or loitering in a K-Mart parking lot, but after a moment I realized that this is the exact expression that comes over your face when you have had quite enough and decide to check out of the listening portion of a sermon by Mom, Dad or myself. It's precisely the face you make 2.5 seconds before you take an enormously long pause, say "Ok, I gotta go" and get the hell out of the house. I can even hear the sullenness of your making that face when I lecture you over the telephone.

Those people at the DMV must have really hassled you that day.

But you're a big boy, now. All grown up with your own life in your own region of the United States. It saddens me that I can no longer predict what you might be doing at any time of the day like I used to. Now I can only guess: 6 pm on a Tuesday? He's sitting on the couch with his cherry-flavored Sonic whateveritis and watching the Cubs game on MLB-dot-com. 8:30 am Sunday morning? Still sleeping with his eyes open and would be cranky as all hell if you try and call. 5:45 Friday evening? Probably playing bags and knocking back a beer with his friends.

Now that you're working full-time and taking care of business, there's little time for idle chit chat. I'm swamped, too. So opportunities to sit around and shoot the shit are rare. We're overscheduled and live nearly a thousand miles away from each other. And long gone are the boring summer days when you'd say, Wanna watch a movie? and tell me I could choose, and then proceed to veto everything I'd suggest. Yeah, THAT was the most frustrating thing about my day back then.

The other night, H was in the bedroom and I was on the couch and we were throwing a baseball-shaped stress ball back and forth through the doorway. I was terrible, hitting the doorjamb or the ceiling often, and I kept telling him how awesome my aim and catching skills were back in the day when you and I would toss that mini football around for hours in the family room so often that it became misshapen, looking more like a squat, rounded rectangle than a football. It got so bad that we finally had to retire it when too much stuffing came poking out of a seam that was falling apart.

I don't even know what you tell people your favorite movie is anymore (but we both know it really still is Home Alone). All these years, you've had little to do with the Indian stuff that I hold so dear, but you called Mom the other day to ask how to make tea, and I laughed. It's only a matter of time before the call about how to make dal. I wonder if you still hold your mug around the barrel instead of by the handle, like you do at home to keep your hands warm on chilly mornings. Or if you ever hover over the floor vent like you did every time the central heat would kick in. But I guess those habits are probably not necessary in a land where it never snows.

I'm immensely proud of you and all that you've accomplished so far. I'm happy that you're steady on your own two feet and I know you'll continue to make us proud. But I miss you, brother. And I wish I could say Happy Birthday to you in person with a hug. Because no matter how grown-up and successful you get, this is how you'll always look to me:

Sometime in late 1983 or early 1984, at our 316 house with the long gravel driveway, before it had that crazy neon green siding. You were a tiny one-year-old (look how big that pacifier is in comparison!), running past the rosebush toward the camera and holding something you probably weren't supposed to have.


TWINTALES features: said...

What a sweet tribute to your brother.

Also, wanted to wish you the best with your employment situation. Hopefully the door that opens for you will be exciting and prosperous and full of adventure.

Librarian Girl said...

I love how much you love your brother. Happy birthday to him!

And...they always come looking for the dal recipe. Sooner or later.

Noelle said...

That was so sweet! Happy birthday to the bro!

cc said...

Happy birthday, Cadiz's bro! We hope you're doing well in Alabama.
Love, cc and lil cc

SupaCoo said...

What a great birthday message!

Guyana-Gyal said...

Awwww, kitchy-kitchy coo, what a cute little babba. He looks like one of my nephews when he was 1-year old. A telly tubby baby.

After he settles in, Cadiz, it will all even out, and you'll find ways to link up and do stuff.

Haha, have you seen that movie, American Desi? I think that's the's about an Indian boy who didn't want to be Indian then he fell Indian girl.

Happy bir'day, Cadiz's brother.

Lia said...

I love your posts to your brother. You guys are such a great pair.

Happy birthday!

cadiz12 said...

Thanks, guys!

GG, my brother LOVES that movie!

Kate said...

OMG Cadiz - sooo glad to have heard from you! I will never forget all those wonderfully great times. Glad, also, to see you alive and well (per the purpose behind this blog :-D) and, lastly, major happy birthday to little bro! It's hard to come to terms with our baby brothers hitting their mid-20s, isn't it?

Sphincter said...

Awwww! Very nice post. Happy Birthday, Little Brother!

Madelyn said...

awww, this post makes me miss my brother. He's not younger than me, but we were pretty close when we were younger.

Also, tell your bro he has the same birthday as Peter Scolari (Bosom Buddies . . . not Tom Hanks, the other guy)

lisaschaos said...

Ah, that's so sweet! Sounds like the two of you have a great relationship! Happy birthday to your brother!