introducing…my baby brother

Well. He’s not a baby anymore. And I no longer think of him as a baby. But that doesn’t mean I can’t call him my baby brother.

Jimmy is 6 years and 8 months younger than me. I don’t remember much of my life from age zero to five (And if you think you do, stop kidding yourself. You only “remember” your second birthday party because your dad took 500 pictures plus a video.), but I do remember that I always wanted a baby sister brother or sister.

Sure, it wasn’t a bad deal being the baby of the family. But I loved babies. I wanted one of my very own. My best friend had a younger sister and I liked to play house and pretend that I was her mommy. (Are you still wondering why I became a mother at age 24?)

So, when my mother announced to my older sister and I that she was going to have another baby, my life was complete. Mom was past 35 for this pregnancy, so her doctor recommended she get an amniocentesis. I was at home when she received the results over the phone. No abnormalities. She cried with relief. My six year old self was confused.

“Mama, are you crying because it’s a boy?”

Not exactly. And this baby boy quickly became the darling of my family. Now he is 18 years old and on the brink of adulthood. He will be attending the University of Washington (my alma mater) in the fall. And I couldn’t be more proud. So, in honor of my baby brother (and with his permission of course), I wanted to share with you a recent story he wrote about my dad, otherwise known as Jim.

And in case you were wondering, my husband, my father, my brother and my father-in-law all share the same name. James.

Life at my house: another overly explained story

By James Miller

For those of you who know my father.

So it’s 9:30 pm. My mother, father, and eldest sister are all upstairs watching American idol. Disgusted, I found myself in my room, admiring the fine mixes on 89.5. I figure I should grab my backpack and run through some homework, since I’ve been out sick for 3 days and my sleep schedule is all sorts of messed up anyways. So I put on some sandals, grab my keys, and head outside. Now, try and visualize with me. I open the door to a nice little drizzle. Well that sucked. So I put my head down, walk to the edge of the brick porch and leap for it. I know the route by feel, one foot on the stepping stone so I don’t get sucked into the muck, one foot on the curb, click the open button on the remote, 5 steps across the driveway, and I’m to my car. Not even looking. Rush rush rush, don’t get wet, grab the backpack close the door. Hit the lock button on the remote. A quick ‘click’ and a honk as the alarm arms itself, and I look up to make my way back to the house. Then, I noticed the abomination. That protrusion, ruining the geometrically perfect curve of her fenders. That strange, tapered cylindrical piece of wax covered cardboard, circumnavigated by that brown recycled cardboard and embezzled with the green goddess of Seattle;

Someone had left their Starbucks cup on my car.

Aw Heeeelllllll, no.

So I picked up the cold, waterlogged vessel of caffeine. It could have been empty, could have been full. It was so soaked I couldn’t tell. 5 steps across the driveway, a hop to the curb, the stepping stone, the porch, the door. I open the door, walk to the kitchen, and address my family: “Now who would love this cup so tenderly as to refill it when others would toss it away, but yet leave it to disintegrate in the rain? Especially on TOP OF MY CAR?”

To this, my father answers quite clearly:

He looks at the cup.

Looks up at me.

Back to the cup.

And snatches the waterlogged mushy mass from my hands. He works like a surgeon, sausage fingers reminiscent of my own gently working the cup as to not remove it’s last bits of liquid-holding ability, carefully avoiding removing its sole purpose in life…

And removes the lid.

Shakes the water off.

And glances in the cup.

At this point I look at his face, just in time to see the ecstasy roll over his entire being. The signs are small, but definite. First his cheeks perk up slightly as the muscles there begin the process. Then the corners of his eyes slowly begin to migrate toward the top of his head, crinkling his forehead as they progress. The muscles continue to roll down around his eyes, causing them to squint ever so slightly. And it finished with a final pursing of the corners of the lips, and expansion out, and up.

A smile.

With that, he threw the cup into the microwave and tapped a few buttons at random. Keep in mind, from my final words “top of my car” to this point occurred in the span of less then 4 seconds. He seemed to notice me again at that point, relieved of his hysteria. Seeing the growing look of puzzlement on my face, he simply responded, “There was still coffee in it.”

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