The Greatest Discovery

I was almost 7. The odd thing is I don’t remember much about that year, the year you were born. I know I wanted you, desperately, and when you came home they say I behaved as if you were born just for me. It got to the point that they would feed me dinner first, because I wanted to feed you yours. I had been an only child for so long (my whole life!) that finally having a sibling was like Christmas every day.

Our age difference was incredibly pronounced during your elementary school years. You were the annoying little brother who karate-kicked my friends and would barge into my room unannounced while I was making out with my boyfriend. I’d bribe you to keep quiet and not tell mom and dad “stuff,” none of which was particularly damning.

You started Little League when you were 6. I was 13. For the next 10 years, I was at every game. Even when college classes conflicted I was there, even if only for part of the game. You got dragged to every crappy play and concert I was ever in, and there wasn’t any room for the thought that I didn’t actually have to be there to cheer you on. I remember one game, you had to be about 10, and dad was screaming directions at you while you were on the field – he’d turned into the typical sports parent. And I turned and yelled at him from behind the backstop, “He’s only going to think you love him when he gets a hit!” I was always very protective of you.

It was the summer before your senior year in high school that I came out and moved away to be with my girlfriend. You were so angry with me. Your senior year, your second year as drum major, your last year in baseball, and I was running away. Not to mention I was leaving your brother-in-law, who was your hero.

A few years after I moved and you grew up a little, not to mention the added benefit of having to jointly deal with some family crises from across the miles, I realized suddenly that I had the kind of relationship with you that lots of people dream of. You call for advice, we talk about mom and dad, we visit, support each other, love each other. I am proud of you. You are honest, respectful, intelligent, and you manage to balance your love for teaching, coaching, and your family in a way I have yet to figure out.

There’s a song that’s always made me cry, and it’s always been mine for you. I love you, little brother.

The Greatest Discovery – Elton John
Peering out of tiny eyes
The grubby hands that gripped the rail
Wiped the window clean of frost
As the morning air laid on the latch
A whistle awakened someone there
Next door to the nursery just down the hall
A strange new sound you never heard before
A strange new sound that makes boys explore
Tread neat so small those little feet
Amid the morning his small heart beats
So much excitement yesterday
That must be rewarded must be displayed
Large hands lift him through the air
Excited eyes contain him there
The eyes of those he loves and knows
But what’s this extra bed just here
His puzzled head tipped to one side
Amazement swims in those bright green eyes
Glancing down upon this thing
That make strange sounds, strange sounds that sing
In those silent happy seconds
That surround the sound of this event
A parent smile is made in moments
They have made for you a friend
And all you ever learned from them
Until you grew much older
Did not compare with when they said
This is your brand new brother
This is your brand new brother
This is your brand new brother

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