Three tow-headed children; two girls and one boy. Blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin, big boned and tall. We couldn’t have denied a family connection if we had wanted too. We all looked too much alike. We were two sisters and their brother.
Then ... when I was 11 years old my mother announced that she was going to have a baby.
The new baby’s entrance into the world was problematic. He was born two months early. He was sick for the first few months of his life. He came home from the hospital about the same time that I came home from one more operation. He became my little sweetheart. I can still hear my mother reminding me that it was her job to take care of the baby and it was my job to get well.
He started walking when he was six months old. He was running by the time he was seven months old. My mother was frantic trying to keep up with a seven month old that could out run her. I have a picture of him running up the sidewalk with my mother in hot pursuit.
He was the youngest brother of the blonde siblings, but he had brown eyes, brown hair, was short, wiry, and ran into life head first.
When I was a teenager one of the family jokes was my father teasing my brother that he looked like he was the mailman’s son.
My youngest sibling started drinking when he was nine years old. He snuck my mom and dad’s car and went joy riding when he was 11. He got hit by a school bus when he was 14. He was an alcoholic by the age of 19.
He became an internationally known printer. He was much sought after. He was a genius with money and was worth a million dollars by the time of his divorce. The divorce split his holdings and left him rootless. He got into so much trouble that he ended up spending time in jail.
I did something I thought I would never do. I called his employer. His boss was frantic. He was going to have to fire him if he didn’t sober up. Together we worked out a plan to get him in recovery. He went and it worked up to a point. The point was about two minutes after he got out of the facility.
My brother is probably the most intelligent man that I have ever known. It has taken years and years of loving him and many times chasing him out of his favorite bars, but he has finally found sobriety. Not early enough to save the fortune that he could have amassed for himself. But money is not as important as the man. He has found sobriety. He has found a second wife. He has found a quiet life.
My mother and father would be so proud of the son that looked like my mother had had an affair with the mailman.
And as an added bonus ... aging has made him the spitting image of my father. Every time he comes to visit I look into his face and see my father looking back at me. Even if his eyes are brown.