Growing up, my younger brother was basically my science project. I was already 9 years old when he was born, so I was fascinated by this new butterball of a baby in my life.
Who is this little creature they call my brother?
I pinched him to see if he'd cry. I made faces to see if he'd laugh. I gave him his first taste of chocolate at five months because I thought he would enjoy it. (He did, my mother did not.) And the list of fun brother sister nonsense goes on from there.
Even though we're nearly a decade apart in age, that hasn't stopped us from growing up to be the best of friends. We share many things, like our obsession with Halloween, our sarcastic sense of humor, and love for college football.
Now that I am married with children, our relationship has only strengthened. Because now he’s not only my brother, he’s also an uncle to my kids—the best one I could ever ask for in fact.
His name is Gabe, but my kids call him ‘Uncle Big.’ They couldn’t say Gabe as toddlers, and it's just how the name came out of their tiny baby mouths. Ever since then, it just sort of stuck and to tell you the truth, it fits. My brother’s stature is big, his personality is big, and his heart is big, too.
He is so helpful and so much fun.
There was the time I had appendicitis and he dropped everything to watch my boys while I curled up in pain in my bedroom until my husband came home from work and took me to the ER.
He comes over to watch my boys at the drop of a hat. His favorite pastime with them is roughhousing. One time, I warned him not to wrestle too much with the little one because he had just eaten dinner. He didn't listen, and instead, ended up with puke all over him. (His fault, not mine. Was it funny? You bet.)
He brought my son his first Nerf gun. This battery operated thing shot over 50 foam rockets. It was huge. It was messy. They were all over the house. He just smiled and I knew that this gift was not just for the kids, but for him too (with a little dig at me—he knew I'd be cleaning them up from now until eternity.)
Just last week my husband was out of town and our beloved pet guinea pig was on his way out of town as well (if you know what I mean).
I sent him the following text:
ME: "Gabe, Dewey is sick and might be dying. If he dies while Andy is out of town you are going to have to come dispose of the body."
GABE: "LMAO! I needed that laugh. Yes, I will dispose of the body."
My brother—the uncle, the comedian, the cleaner. (Side note: Dewey pulled through, so thankfully my brother’s services were not needed.)
He spoils my kids with treats and toys, but that's not why we love him. We love him because of the time he spends with them and the positive influence he brings to them as a role model of what a good man should be. I'm not sure if he even knows how much we appreciate this, but if he's reading, he knows now.
Now that he's expecting a child of his own, I can't wait to be the best auntie I can be and show his kiddo the same love and wholeheartedness that he's shown mine.
My arms are aching for this precious baby whom I haven't even met yet. I can already imagine the fun times we'll have. I want to babysit so Uncle Big and his wife can go out, have fun and not worry about a thing—something he's done for us numerous times with just dinner as a payment. I want to buy all those cute baby outfits and cozy swaddling blankets. I want to show this baby absolute, unconditional love.
I can't wait to see him and his wife go through all of their parenting firsts from midnight feedings and changing diapers to potty training and loose teeth. I've watched him grow up and now that he's a man with a growing family of his own, I know he's going to be as great of a father as he is an uncle and a brother. And I can’t wait to be along for the ride.