A Monkey Tale

My brother and I have gone through many phases in our relationship.

I once asked my mother how I reacted when he was born, since I was four years old and don’t really remember much about how I felt, and she told me that I loved my new baby brother.  She said that I used to talk about him as if he was my own child, the proudest big sister ever.  When he got a little older, we were playmates.  We’d spend hours, just the two of us, playing games – from standard games like checkers to games that we created that would sound crazy to any outsider.

Of course, we had our issues.  Like any pair of siblings, we fought.  One fight I remember having over and over again when we were younger was the fight for the front seat of the car.  I almost always got the front because I was older, and that was only fair.  One time, this apparently upset him so much that he took the Speak-n-Spell that he had been playing with and threw it over the seat, bashing me in the head.  Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.  Luckily, this fight ended when the law was passed that you had to be 12 years old to sit in the front seat.  By the time he was old enough, I was old enough to drive, so the issue hardly ever came up.

Plus, I was still older.

Things took a rocky turn as I reached adolescence.  I was an angsty teenager and not always the easiest to get along with.  My hormones were rampant and there were some days that I would be throwing shoes at my brother just for coming into my room without knocking.  Which, I mean, he shouldn’t have been doing, but I don’t think it was really serious enough to warrant chucking platform sneakers at his head.  Luckily he was small and quick so I rarely ever actually hit him.

Then, I moved away to college and started to mature.  I would still live at home for winter break and the summers, and we didn’t always get along.  Now HE was the angsty teenager who thought his older sister was just about as far away from “cool” as they could get.  Which, I mean, was true, but he still needed rides everywhere so the least he could have done was be nice once in a while.  Then he got HIS license and we were sharing a car.  If that wasn’t a recipe for disaster, I don’t know what was.

Now I live in New York full-time, only coming home for a long weekend here and there.  Figures, now we get along great.  It turns out we have a similar sense of humor and we tend to like the same types of music.

Though I feel like we’ve come full-circle in our relationship, I would have never answered the question “Do you and your brother get along” in the negative.  Sure, there was a period of time where he annoyed the hell out of me and there was a stint there where he was embarrassed by my existence, but on most days we got along just fine.

I was watching Arrested Development today and the mother was trying to pin the brother and sister against each other because they were getting along and she was afraid they’d turn on her.  This reminded me of something that happens a lot in our household.

Growing up, it was always clear that I was a Daddy’s Girl and my brother was a Momma’s Boy.  It worked out because we both had a parent that spoiled us and was always on our side.  Though the only downfall to this was that there was always a parent who was giving us a hard time and was NOT always on our side.  As we grew up, we came to accept this situation and take it for what it was.  And occasionally take advantage of it.  However, though it was usually me and my Dad vs. my brother and Mom, as time went on, this was the case far less often than it used to be.

I’ll give you an example of a situation that happened numerous times, but this was the first time I noticed it happening so clearly.  A few years ago, we were sitting at the kitchen table, all four of us, for dinner.  My brother said something stupid and insulting, so I slapped him on the arm.  He pinched me and I punched him.  Slinging insults and inflicting minor injuries to one another, we are interrupted by my mother – “Stop hitting your brother!”.  Almost immediately, my father chimes in, “Stop being mean to your sister!”.  Practically in unison, my brother and I turned to them with confused looks on our faces and I go, “What? We’re fine, stay out of this.” My brother joins in with, “This is just what we do, leave us alone.”  Our parents looked at each other and realized the tables had turned.  It wasn’t two parent-child teams anymore.  It was us against them.

Still to this day – I’m now 23 years old, my brother just turned 19 – whenever we stick up for each other, my mother will shake her head and say something like, “I don’t know how I feel about this…you two getting along…”

Well, I know how I feel about it.

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~ by Valerie Anne on 11/20/2010.

2 Responses to “A Monkey Tale”

  1. Kind of reminds me of my sister and me, except the parent situation was completely different because we had 3 kids. And…platform sneakers, hahahaha.

  2. I can’t even imagine if there was a third of us around, I think blood would have been shed.

    And yes, my angst occurred around the same time as the Spice Girls phenomenon 🙂

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