Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Today is my little brother Gary's birthday. As of this morning, he is officially 31 years old. So if you see him today, please be sure to remind him of that fact. ;) It's funny that how no matter how old we get, he will always be my little brother. I don't think you ever outgrow that.

He is unmistakably my brother - all you have to do is look at us together and you'll see it immediately. I joke that we look like we could be identical twins, just all of his facial features are bigger than mine. Same, but bigger. He's got the same dry, sarcastic sense of humor that I do. Comes in handy sometimes, especially when we are teaming up to mess with people.

He's ambidextrous. He's got huge duck feet. He affectionately refers to our shared hair color as sh*t brown. He's almost as blind as I am without contacts. He once had a blue clarinet. (Inside joke!) I used to call him Gary Gnu. He got suspended from school for lighting binaca on fire in junior high. He's Bubba.

My little brother has gone through a lot in his life. There have been few dull moments for him. He was a crazy kid, and I am reminded of that every day since I practically live with his clone, Aidan. He ended up in the ER so many times that they started questioning my parents. Wasn't abuse, just Gary. Between me, the neighbor kids and his own propensity for going all-out with whatever he was doing, he tended to get hurt a lot. He wasn't playing if he wasn't playing hard.

His teenage years were mostly a blur, for all of us. He was sick for many of them, and that experience in large part shaped the man he would become. It changed him in some ways. He learned, often the hard way, that sometimes doctors are wrong. That love is occasionally displayed in strange ways. One of my best friends at the time went to see Gary in the hospital after one of his procedures, and sat at the foot of his bed eating a Snickers bar, knowing full well that Gary couldn't eat anything. Hey, just because he was sick didn't mean we could stop picking on him! And through that experience, he learned who his real friends were. He learned that sometimes people can't be there. And that sometimes people will move heaven and Earth to be there. And that sometimes you don't know which category people will fall into until they have to choose.

I was glad when Gary got into USC. It was nice to have him around, though I could have done without the screaming-into-my-answering-machine-at-4am phone calls. Watching him transform from a somewhat shy and reserved freshman into a frat boy was fun to watch. He developed both his art and his business savvy while there. I hope someday he will find a way to combine the two. He's such a creative person, the world is missing out with him not working in it.

He fell in love when he wasn't looking for it, and I knew the second he called me after that fateful conference that it was the real thing. Having sworn off relationships, he was sent there strictly for work. Little did he know that he would be bringing home a souvenir. Gretchen and him belong together. They suit each other. They just fit. It's hard to describe unless you've seen it. He might not have been looking for her, and she might not have been looking for him. But someone brought them together. Who knew that mortgage conferences could be so romantic?

Moving to Colorado was a hard decision for me. I knew that I wouldn't be able to see my family as much. I wouldn't be able to see my brother as much. Today is his birthday, what I wouldn't give to see him. And on this birthday, Gary, I hope that your wishes come true. I love you. I miss you. Happy Birthday!

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