9. Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?
The picture featured above is of my brother and I. He’s three years older than me and in this picture I would roughly guess he is four and I am one. Spoiler alert: his driving still results in me making that face. To be truthful, my childhood is one of my favorite topics to write about. In my computer you can find half-written pieces about growing up with my brother, how my family communicates with each other (the answer is loudly), and my father’s lack of sensitivity.
Childhood is something that in the moment feels like this incredibly drawn out thing that you will never grow out of, but with time and perspective it yields some of the most entertaining stories. Each one of my family members love a good story. Gatherings aren’t typically spent talking about sports or politics, instead we exaggerate tales from the past in a loud tone while gesturing wildly. Tales like how we got stranded on an island once on a summer vacation.
It is for this reason that I would tell you I’m completely content with my childhood. Sure there have been low points, dark patches that not even our greatest sense of humor could dig us out of, but I’m thankful for that too.
The one wish I would make is that things wouldn’t have been so hard for my brother.
From the beginning it seemed as if drama swirled and entangled my brother. At birth he had managed to swallow amniotic fluid and had to stay in the NICU. As a baby he would never sleep. He wouldn’t eat, and he was always on the move. Everything was a fight with Scott. My parents were so worn out that it’s a miracle they had me at all.
But at the risk of having another hurricane they decided to try again, and they got me. I believe that in family each person occupies a certain role. My mother is the nurturer, my dad the worker, Scott the hurricane, and I was the peacemaker. For some reason, even at birth I seemed to have known that.
Scott was six when he was diagnosed with dyslexia. It look a long time to figure out. Hours spent with tutors, taking tests, and even once they had an answer my parents still weren’t sure what to do. He was supposed to start school in the fall, but my parents couldn’t find one that would give him the support my brother needed. I was too young to remember all of it, and I’m glad I can’t.
What I can remember is my parents fighting with my brother at the kitchen table, trying to get his homework done. Every night. In high school my brother didn’t even tell his teachers he had dyslexia. It wasn’t until my parents went in for a conference that they went, “oh that makes sense.” Even though I’ve never specifically asked him I think he doesn’t tell people out of shame, or maybe the fear of getting too much attention.
He wants to figure things out on his own, without help. Our brains work differently. Every thing Scott did in school took him twice as long as any body else. Unfortunately, it seemed like my brother would always have to do things the hard way and not by choice. I wish it could have been easier but after everything that has happened, from childhood to adulthood, he has turned into an incredibly kind-hearted individual.
Getting Scott to do things is still a fight but in spite of his struggles he has created his own family and is pursuing his passion in medicine. And who can argue with that?