Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Fairy GodBrother

I can’t tell my story without telling you about my family…without them I wouldn’t be as semi-adjusted as I am.  Since they’ll be showing up eventually, I’d like to make some introductions.  First up – Brother.    
TopChef’s oldest daughter recently turned five and became a member of the Tooth Fairy Network.  Being the creative mom that she is, she made a magical event of it…there were purple balloons, a special Tooth Fairy pillow, and I think a certificate from the Tooth Fairy herself!  As TopChef detailed the plans with the rest of us, I remembered another little girl who believed in magic and fairies because her big brother made it so. 
He wanted a little brother.  I wanted a big sister.  We didn’t have any choice in the matter and so we ended up with each other.  Brother is brilliant, witty, artistic, bossy, moody, and a perfectionist.  He is also one of the most complicated people that I know.  He believes everyone should follow the rules, his rules.  Did I mention that he’s bossy?  Growing up in our mostly kidless neighborhood, we had each other.  He led the way and I usually followed….or was dragged kicking and screaming.  I was forced to participate in the Summer Olympic games that he organized (complete with cardboard medals that he spray painted gold, silver, and bronze…there were only two of us so I never understood who got the bronze).  My Barbies and his Lego people lived side by side, more harmoniously than we did.  Brother was under the impression for much of our childhood that my room was his room.  I didn’t necessarily agree and that led to some epic battles.  I don’t think our mother ever made it through a phone call without having to referee a fight between the two of us.  But when we weren’t fighting, we were getting along…riding bikes “down the Shore”* together, sneaking out to dinner (Bonanza! Ponderosa!) with our mom, drinking A-Treat soda that our dad brought home for us, tormenting our baby-sitters.    
Best of all, my big brother made me believe in magic.  When I was nine or ten, towards the end of a long car ride, I began to spin a tale about the fairies who came to visit me at night.  I generally lived in my imagination - I’m a Pisces, remember - and I had loads of imaginary friends in my imaginary world.  I used to go on imaginary road-trips, sitting on the steps outside my bedroom “driving” in my imaginary station wagon (I had lots of imaginary kids) to imaginary destinations.  So, imaginary fairies weren’t out of the ordinary for me.  But then, something extraordinary happened.  Sometime between the time we arrived home from our trip and when I went up to my room, the fairies left a note for me on my window!  I was blown away.  (Of course, this gave me hope that if my imagined fairies could become real, my imagined bedroom furnished with snazzy IKEA bunk beds would become reality too.  Sadly, I’m still waiting for the bunk beds.)

The Last Gift
Faded proof that there are fairies!
My mother swore that she didn’t know anything about it.  I probably knew, deep down…the fairies’ handwriting was remarkably similar to Brother’s…but I wanted to believe that there was a world filled with fairies and magic.  They would come every so often and I would find notes or little presents on the ledge of my bedroom window.  Eventually they stopped coming…Brother probably got bored or maybe I did.  The last thing that was left for me was a book and a note.  The book's copyright is dated 1992…so I was at least 13.  Brother would have been 16, an angry teenager who, depending on the day, left our house and our family in turmoil.  But inside that angry teenager, who was dealing with his own personal struggles and adolescent angst, was still a boy who wanted his little sister to believe in magic.
The cardboard medals of our Summer Olympic games were thrown away long ago, my Barbies and his Legos are packed away side by side in our parents’ basement, and our old bedrooms have been converted into a guest room (his) and a storage room (mine).  He still drives me crazy, our fights are waged long distance over the phone (I’m the queen of the hang-up, he’s the king of calling back and calling back and calling back), he’s no longer that angry teenager, and he’s still bossy.  We’re both in our thirties now, long past the acceptable age of believing in fairies and magic.  But there’s a part of me that still believes…because my big brother made it so.    
*The Shore is what lesser informed people refer to as the beach.  If you live in PA or NJ, chances are you went “down the shore” during the summer.  And if you happened to get ice cream while you were down the shore, you got jimmies on top…not sprinkles, never sprinkles. 

1 comment:

  1. A beautiful story beautifully told.
    Luv the shore footnote! ;)