My first clear memory was when I was three, just a handful of months before my fourth birthday. I caught my parents looking at two plastic bat and ball sets. I knew I shouldn’t have looked, shouldn’t have been there, but I saw them and ran back to where I was supposed to be.
The next memory was a few days later. My little brother and I were playing with the bat sets in the backyard of my grandparent’s house. I had received a red bat and yellow ball; while, my little brother had a yellow bat and a red ball. We switched balls. I was always given red things, and my brother always received blue. I always got the hero action figure, and my little brother always got the side-kick.
I remember throwing the ball up and trying to hit it. I was wearing a short set, probably pink, though I’m only guessing because of photographs. I remember we didn’t have much success of hitting the ball.
Then the memory flash forwards to dinner, just a few hours later. My grandparents, brother, and I were sitting at the breakfast bar, eating chili, when my dad came into the kitchen door. He looked tired. He looked happy. I remember being excited to see him, yelling daddy from my seat as I couldn’t jump up to hug him as I hadn’t finished my meal and been excused. He kissed me. He shot a look at my grandma that I couldn’t interpret at the age.
“You have a new baby brother,” he said.
I was crushed.
I wanted a baby sister, not another brother. Not another brother. Later I would learn that my dad had called my grandma earlier that day to give her the good news, which she refused to pass on to me because I was so very certain I would have a baby sister, not another brother. That was twenty-five years ago today.
The next memory I had was sitting at the dinette table (the one I’m sitting at now), coloring with my little brother and my mom. I was happily chatting away about something. I stopped, thinking. “What’s his name again?” I asked. My mom sighed and told me. It wasn’t the first time I had asked, nor was it the last.
But luckily for me, I learned to love the little guy, and after we grew up out of the sibling rivalry crap, we became friends. I couldn’t ask for a nicer, sweeter baby brother. Of course, he’s now my Big baby brother.
As for my just deserts, our family dog has just turned sixteen, and for sixteen years, my brother has accidently called me Athena, instead of my name when he’s in hurry and not thinking. Pay backs are a bear.