Hinted, pleaded, insisted.
This is what our 5-year-old son, Kaleb, did for nine months. Nine long months. Then, at long last, on Nov. 24 at precisely 1 p.m., his hints, pleas and insistence paid off.
Kaleb’s brother, Kason Michael Huffman, finally decided to “pop out” of his mommy’s tummy. Now we just can’t stop smiling each time we gaze upon our baby’s sweet face.
Naturally, Kaleb is absolutely elated that he’s now officially a “Big Brother.” I imagine pretty soon he’ll be inquiring about whether he can take advantage of any big brother discounts at restaurants and movie theaters. It all comes with the territory. Or should.
In fact, Kaleb may have already sent a letter to Congress advocating for the honorary implementation of “Big Brother Day.” Not to be confused with the observation of National Brothers Day on May 24, Big Brother Day will mark a momentous celebration when everyone — namely younger siblings — will praise their big and more seasoned brothers.
As a big brother myself, I fully endorse this proposal. After all, it’s only fair that we big bros gain the acknowledgement we so righteously deserve for our many sacrifices — loss of full parental attention; “taking turns” on practically everything; the sharing of toys we forgot we had but suddenly can’t live without, etc.
Not to mention all the times we’re held accountable and prompted to “set a good example” for the naïve little tykes.
I reckon big sisters make these same sacrifices, too, and we could certainly use their help to strengthen our numbers and further our cause for well-deserved glorification. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to include them in the proposal’s final draft: Big Brother [and, by necessity, Big Sister] Day.
Just imagine that exact title on a big, shiny banner.
Yessiree, a national holiday would help us at least gain some restitution — I mean, “recognition” — for our humble roles in life. Otherwise, we’ll simply have to resort to other tactics for settling scores between older and younger siblings.
Take Pawpaw Jim and his younger brother, Uncle Louis, who’ve waged a cosmic bet between one another, a no-holds-barred showdown that’s expected to embolden “The Absolute Best” between them and ultimately cap their sibling rivalry:
Whoever has the most toys when they die, wins.
Lord, please have mercy on us if they tie.
Of course, some sibling rivalries are a bit more complex, like the one that was between my father and his late brother, “Son,” a cross-eyed and very ornery Siamese cat who Pawpaw Buck adopted as a kitten from a friend.
And, folks, Pawpaw Buck adored his furry son, often warning his human son, “Now, Doe Doe, don’t be mean to your brother.”
Nope, not even when Son threw tantrums and tore their country home slap up, even knotting together necklaces, when he didn’t get to ride downtown in Buck’s car. Nor the times when my teenage father would come home late on the weekends, easing his way to the living room couch to keep from waking his daddy, and afterward awaken in terror to something sitting on his chest.
Its blueish-gray eyes stared down intently into his.
My father says Son did have some pretty eyes, like sparkling crystals. But they sure looked pretty dang evil when illuminated by the brightness from the old light pole outside that shone toward the house and through the living room window by the couch.
“Don’t be mean to your brother…”
Easier said than done. Especially when you feel cheated, as in my case. I’m referring to the day I was introduced to my little sister, Hannah.
Nothing against her, per se. It just that I’d already picked the baby we were supposed to have taken home prior to Hannah’s debut.
This all happened sometime shortly after my mother started going into labor, and my great-grandfather had taken a nearly 4-year-old me to go look at the newborns in the hospital nursery. Staring through the glass, I spotted the perfect sibling — a precious baby with curly black hair and a complexion infinitely darker than mine.
“I want that one right there,” I said, confident in the superbness of my selection.
Eager to get my order in, I wasted no time telling my mother that she could get out of bed and come on home. I’d picked the baby.
At least I thought I did. Somehow my order had gotten mixed up, or someone deliberately sabotaged it. Because the baby I was introduced to was definitely not the one I’d carefully handpicked. This one shared my exact complexion. And she was bald.
That’s life, I reckon. My son Kaleb, on the other hand, is very content with the baby we brought home, constantly kissing and telling Kason, “Yay! I’m so happy you finally popped out! I love you!”
Still, I’ve begun to sense a hint of turbulence between them. It was sparked just the other day, when we were all downstairs at home. Kaleb was busy playing a game, and Kason started crying for a bottle.
As I headed over to get Kason, my wife, Kim, got up to make her final trip upstairs for the day. But, before she got past the couch, she received a sincere request from Kaleb, who was having some difficulty tuning out his little brother:
“Mommy, can you take the baby upstairs so he don’t bother me?”
And here’s where it all starts…
Keith Huffman can be reached at email@example.com.