It's October 19th. The 27th anniversary of the day I went from being an only child to a sister. The day my little brother, Josh, was born. Of course, I'm 28, so I don't exactly remember this glorious day. And I share these details so you realize how close we are in age... how close we've been in everything. My forever relationship with Josh is starkly contrasted with my relationship with my even younger brother, Cade, who is 10 years younger than me... whose birth day I remember so vividly. Even on that day, Josh is in every memory I have... meeting him in the front office of our elementary school so my parents could tell us on the phone together if it was a boy or a girl. Being driven by our aunt to the hospital and seeing that screaming baby in the incubator and sharing a dubious look. Yep, Josh has always been there. There's no life before Josh for me.
If someone asked me to pick my most defining, favorite memory from childhood, I could never point to one moment but I could point to one person. Josh and I grew up best friends. With only a year separating us, for most of our childhood we were the same size (we enjoyed showing off our excellent balancing skills on the see-saw for all our friends) and were often asked if we were twins. We were each other's absolute best playmate. Every day was spent imagining a new adventurous world, running or biking through the woods beside our house, swinging on the swingset, building forts, being Power Rangers (see above), playing the latest video games. I remember how excited we were to receive our Nintendo 64, and saving our money and combining it to buy Goldeneye, the James Bond game we wanted so badly. I still remember that historic trip to Wal-Mart. We shared everything. Usually pretty well, but not always of course.
One of my favorite memories is the annual wake up call I'd get from Josh in the dark morning hours of Christmas day. We were so excited to see what Santa had left us, but Josh was the early riser (back then!) and would get me out of bed for the early morning venture. We'd tip toe downstairs in the dark, ooh and ahh over the magical scene before us, and quietly retrieve whatever looked most intriguing and play with it for hours until my parents woke up and we got to do it all over again.
I think it can be hard for a relationship like that to stay strong through every phase of life, especially when you're brother and sister. When you hit middle school and you start growing up really fast but at different paces, things change and you just can't relate the same. I think that was the case with us anyway. My confidence was slowly growing and I had started making real friends (with GIRLS) for the first time. You see, I was painfully, cripplingly shy in elementary school. And maybe I didn't even feel the need to make friends, since I already had Josh. He was the perfect friend because he was always there, I could be myself, and he loved attention in a way that I hated. He gladly took all of my unwanted limelight. But we grew up and my new defense mechanism became sarcasm and Josh hated it. He's always been too gentle a person to understand why I would anyone would ever act that way. Especially when he was dealing with his own middle school struggles at that time. Middle school is just the WORST y'all.
But as slowly as we pulled apart during teenager-dom... and not FULLY apart, mind you... just no longer inseparable and much more likely to push each other's buttons for funsies... We reunited slowly as well. When I went away to college, I remember how much fun we had together when I'd return. It was like the years of antagonizing no longer mattered. It was a silly part of our past. A childish indiscretion!
College is over and we're both grown ups now. We have our own houses and our own lives and we're still figuring out how the other fits into that. We still argue because, well we're actually very similar people in that we're both pretty sensitive (and aren't you always most sensitive to the people you care about the most?), we just manifest that completely differently. But we still play and enjoy each other, too. We play video games together still and meet each other for dinner and luckily for me, he's bonded with Erik too. Not just Erik even, but Erik's siblings as well. Family is forever right? So how awesome when they can be the friends you want to hang out with too.
So happy birthday, Ua! I know I called you that during the dark middle school years because you absolutely hated being called Joshua and I honed in on the two letters that irked you the most... but I hope you've realized now that only your favorite people receive pet names that last for over 10 years. I hope that this year you enjoy exactly where your life is at this point and relish in the good things you have while fighting for the good things that you want. Thanks for forever being my partner in crime and helping me climb the ranks in League of Legends ;)