Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Missing my Team


The best thing about having siblings, especially younger ones, is that it's like having a built-in, genetically compatible team.  I don't know if this is how it works in most families, but my younger brother, sister, and I have been reaping the benefits of this biological advantage our whole lives.

My brother Nathan and I especially have a long, rich history of teamwork that has rewarded us beyond measure.  For example, there was the one Christmas Eve when I distracted the grownups so that Nathan could investigate my grandparent's house for presents.  Imagine my parent's surprise when they heard, "COLE!  COME LOOK AT THIS!" echoing from the attic, as Nathan zoomed around on a plastic cart from "Santa."

But my personal favorite is the story of Easter '96, back when I was five and Nathan was three, very much in our "Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt" prime.  My neighborhood took Easter egg hunts very seriously (or the under-10 community did, at least).  The hunts were cutthroat affairs, akin to a miniature Hunger games of sorts.

My brother and I were in different age groups that year, but the prize for all of the age groups was the same.  Besides bragging rights (which was nothing to poo-poo in those days), the kid who found the most eggs in each group was awarded a prize so great, we spoke of it only with hushed reverence: a foot-tall, milk chocolate Easter bunny.

Nathan and I wanted nothing more than to bring that bunny home.  It meant everything.  And we thought we had a reasonable shot... that is, until we eyed up the competition.

I remember sizing up my fellow wild-eyed five-year-olds and realizing, "This one could be close."  And close, my friends, was not good enough when it came to 12 inches of chocolate victory.

So Nathan and I did what we did best: we used out genetic situation to our advantage.  After the final whistle was blown, while the other kids all lined up to have their eggs counted, Nathan and I executed.  We met on the lump of cut grass we had designated before the hunt, huddled together, whispering in hushed voices, and added Nathan's eggs to mine.

Where one of us may have failed, our combined effort could not be beat.  Nathan and I left the hunt that afternoon as champions, me throwing my Easter hat to the wind and Nathan trying to remember if he had his big boy underwear on.

I remember that wagon ride home, Nathan and me sitting among our loot as my dad pulled us back to the house, so vividly.  Our dad had been proud of us at the hunt but I couldn't wait until we were alone to tell him how brilliant his children actually were.

I could barely control myself as I detailed our plan to our father, ending triumphantly with a fist full of chocolate pumping the air.  My dad, however, was less than impressed.  I remember him turning around and going on and on about how that was cheating and it wasn't fair to the other kids and how we should not have done that.

I remember feeling slightly put out that my dad was not impressed, and both Nathan and I acted respectfully ashamed of ourselves the rest of the ride home.

But as soon as we got to the house and out of Dad's eyesight, we exchanged the most triumphant of high-fives two preschoolers have ever exchanged.  My dad could go on and on about those other kids but let's be real; who cares about morals when we had a chocolate rabbit as tall as Nathan's waist?

It may not always be obvious now, the camaraderie that runs deep between my younger brother and me. On any given day when we're both home, as I'm yelling through the bathroom door to hurry up in the shower and Nathan is screaming back that he has RIGHTS and one of those RIGHTS is to shower... you might never guess that we were once two parts that made up the most infamous Easter duo in the land.

But we were, and we still are.  I can find two million and two things to give Nathan hell about, but the  fact is that if anyone else so much as tries to give him a hard time... it won't be pretty.  Because he's my teammate, after all, and I'd be more than a few eggs short of a chocolate bunny without him.

Happy Tuesday.
Sorry for the mushy goop.  Tomorrow I'll bring back some snark.



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1 comment:

  1. Aw and now I just want to go make my baby brothers hangout with me.

    ReplyDelete