I’ve already said that I’m the youngest of four kids. Two boys, my sister, then me.
My oldest brother and I are 11 years apart, and have an interesting relationship. He’s a know-it-all, and loves spouting his vast knowledge on everything from the financial markets to my choice of hairstyle. He’s also extremely offensive and blatantly racist when he gets drunk.
Actually, when I was growing up, he used to always say “don’t eat yellow snow” whenever I left the house. Wise words, I suppose. I was clearly old enough to know that, but it was still kind of funny to hear him say it every single time.
In any case, being 11 years apart, we were never very close. When I was 17 and was thinking about joining the military, though, things changed. He was very helpful in getting me to join. Well, he’s in the military so this was his domain of knowledge, so I would hope he would be helpful. For the year before I went to basic, though, every time I saw him he would make me do push-ups. It sounds mean, but it was good for me. Got me prepared for basic so I didn’t die a puny and weak death.
Nowadays, he still gives me advice, but it’s of a different variety. Every summer before I left for military training, he would pull me aside and say something like, “I know military men. Keep your legs together.”
Gee, thanks bro.
The next year he left out the first part, and just reminded me to continue to keep my legs together. I guess I now knew how military men are, but still can’t be trusted.
Actually, this was kind of nice of him. I guess he has always been a little bit protective, even though I don’t associate him with many of the good-older-brother traits. It made me see, though, that he cares about my well-being.
We still don’t really talk much. I didn’t want to tell him about James because I knew what he would say. He would think I’m one of those girls who joins the military just to get with all the desperate guys. I was worried he would dislike James just because he knows that James is one of those military guys, except he’s one who actually managed to get with me.
In September, I went to my cousin’s wedding the day before James flew up to Winnipeg so that he could do the drive to Hamilton with me. My brother’s wife really wanted to meet James when he was there, but my brother insisted that he’s probably just one of many, so there’s no point. I was a little hurt by that. Doesn’t he trust me to have at least a little bit of good judgment? Well, that same day, my brother came up to me and said something along the lines of “we aren’t going to talk about this any further, but you should look into depo provera. It is safe and has few side effects”, and then he walked away.
Wow, birth control advice? My brother isn’t stupid, so he obviously knew that James and I have sex. But openly giving me advice on birth control is a pretty big deal. I guess it pretty much sums up our current relationship, though. We don’t talk about much, especially not personal things, and what we do talk about is simply him spouting his knowledge at me or giving me advice I didn’t ask for.
My oldest brother is the one person James is terrified of meeting. James has met my parents, and spent a day hanging out with me and my sister. He’s met my closest friends, and they’ve given the stamp of approval. But the oldest brother, the opinionated, offensive, knows-you’re-sleeping-with-his-little-sister, brother? Whole different story. All I can do is cross my fingers and hope that when they do end up in the same room, it goes over well.
And James, if you’re reading this (which I suspect you will be), stop flipping out. You’ll be fine. You’ve got me there to protect you.