I found out a couple of weeks ago that my middle brother, Joey is moving to Knoxville, TN. It is just hitting me today and I am not handling it well. So I started typing this "letter" to him meaning to just get it out so I could stop crying...but I think I will share it with him now...and post it here, too for posterity.
I remember the day you were born…we were at Ma’s and got the call…another boy.
I was hoping for a sister, but I don’t remember being disappointed….for long anyway. :)
I remember mom big and pregnant, laying on the sofa with a fan on her at all times…you were born in the middle of August, remember? Poor thing. The next thing I remember (after the phone call) is you and Brad as babies in the living room, both big and chubby and just the cutest, most fun toys I could have ever gotten! Brad was much fairer than you…and fatter…and funnier. But you…well you were far prettier. I know men don’t like to hear that they were pretty babies…but you were. You had peaches and cream skin…huge dark brown eyes and your hair was much redder than it is now, nearly 30 years later.
As you both grew…and your mutual cuteness was overcome by Timmy – by far the cutest baby of us all – you went from being cute, squishy toys for me to actual people…brothers. You were by far the sweetest, most tender-hearted of the boys…you probably don’t want to hear that either, but you were. I remember you crying…a lot. Not that you were a whiney baby, because you weren’t. Brad and I cornered that market. You were just sensitive and got your feelings hurt pretty easily…something you at least hide better now. I loved that tenderness about you. It let everyone know that you cared…that as easily as you were hurt, you loved.
But you were also a boy’s boy, wiling and able to rough-house and wrestle and beat the pants off of your brother’s in any sport they chose to play. You were the best at all of them…except skateboarding. None of you were really that good, to be honest…though I think Nicky thought he was Tony Hawk or something. I was glad when that phase ended too…it scared me.
The next one, the Breakin’ phase, was a bit safer. We were all old enough to get in on that one and you 4 took turns being Ozone and Turbo and I got to be Kelly. We’d play and dance in the living room, thinking we were really doing something. I am sure we looked really…really white.
I remember us all awake at 3am on Christmas Eve, trying to be quiet…yet hoping somehow we’d wake mom and dad up and they’d let us open our presents before dawn. I remember listening to and laughing hysterically to Dad’s Bill Cosby album. I remember how fun Shark Week was. We’d all pile on the sofa and snuggle and watch it together. I remember the crazy bunkbeds dad made that weighed a ton. I remember Joey P. Long and your imaginary friends and the times you’d come hang out with me in my room and let me talk you into fixing your hair.
I also remember that you never peed on me…for which I am very thankful.
What I don’t remember is us fighting. Maybe it is convenient memory…I don’t know. But I like that I don’t remember that. I also like that I can look back on nearly every significant moment of my life…in some cases every day of my life and find you there somewhere. I don’t like that now, that is coming to an end.
I don’t like that you are moving away.
I don’t like that you are moving so far away.
I could handle it when you lived in another city because you were in the same state, so it was ok. This is just too much. And I don’t like what that means.
That means no Uncle Joey to help me reason with Kevon. No watching you annoy Kelsey at some random family function. No seeing you 2-3 times a week and watching your face light up when Kira says or does something even moderately cute. No seeing the smile Timia gives only to you. No hearing you and the other boys tell stories or jokes and seeing you laugh silently, face all scrunched up, whole body quaking, teeth bared…but no sound. And no knowing that whatever happens, we are all about a 15 minute drive away. There is also the knowledge that if something does happen, I have to deal with the other three…alone! ;)
You are the calm one…you are the stable one…you are the sensible one…and you are leaving me alone with these people!
But this is not about me. It is about you and doing what you think is best for your future. It is about you going out there and being the calm, stable, sensible, truly good man you have become and making a life for yourself. I am just sad that it has to happen away from us.
I do hope you find what you are looking for and hope you know, too, that I will be praying for you…and no it won’t just be that you hate it in Knoxville and move back! I really do just want what is best for you…and yes, I want it to be here…but realize that it may not be.
I just love you, so much. More than I think I realize and more than I know I show. I will miss you…a LOT. And, I am proud to call you my brother…even if I have to dial one and the area code first.
Your broken-hearted sister…