Brotherly Reminders

Two things happened recently which reminded me of my second oldest brother, who I will refer to as Big Dog in the remainder of this post. (He’s the biggest of us and I don’t like using people’s real names, other than popular cultural figures.)

My two-year-old didn’t take an early nap today; in fact, she’s often been skipping her nap and we’ve been struggling to keep her up long enough so she doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night thinking it was just a late nap she had. Today, I got home from work just after 5. She hadn’t napped today. Well, as my wife was getting ready to take the 11-year-old to her rehearsal shortly after my return the little one put her head down on the rug in the hallway and fell asleep. Yup, she looked like a little meatloaf with the side of her faced pressed into the rug and her butt up in the air. I just let her sleep there for a little while.

Kind of like when we would fall asleep on the floor growing up – mom would just throw a blanket over top us on many occasions. I do believe it was the Big Dog who fell prey to variable circadian rhythms whilst playing and hence crashed out wherever he was at the time. I know it also happened to me plenty of times, but when I hear the stories I am most reminded of the Big Dog.

The other reminder came from my wife. Our 6-year-old is very good at sneaking into our bed sometime in the very early morning hours without waking us up. She’ll just plop between us and won’t be discovered until I wake up for work or her little sister wakes us up fussing. This morning was one of those times. About 3:45am the little one fussed and tried to climb onto our bed from her toddler bed, which sits at the foot of ours. The wife picked her up and asked me to move her sister back to her own bed. I did so and came back to form the second wall around the toddler. Two hours later I woke up to go to work – yeah, nothing like sleeping in! I set up some extra pillows as a barrier between the toddler and the fall to the floor. The wife said it was our older daughter in bed with us. I said no, it was the toddler. She couldn’t remember bringing the 2-year-old into bed with us even though she seemed to be having an entirely lucid conversation with me while doing it.

How does this remind me of the Big Dog? Let me tell you.

Stories of the Big Dog waking up without fully being awake are the stuff of legend in our family. Many a time did my dad or mom tell him to go back to bed around midnight or shortly thereafter when he was fully dressed for school and milling around upstairs. The following morning he’d have no recollection of the event  – but the rest of us sure did. This, although not daily, weekly, or even monthly, was a frequent enough occurrence to stick in our collective family memory.

But my favorite occurred his junior year in high school. Both my older brothers were involved in the Spring musical, Cinderella. (Big Dog and the other tall guy in drama were cast as the ugly stepsisters. That was pure comic genius!) There’s a scene when the invitations are sent to all eligible maidens to attend the prince’s ball (in order to find a bride to attend to the prince’s…never mind). The song in that scene is appropriately titled, “The Prince is Giving a Ball.” Our high school put on pretty darn good theatre productions – a product of extensive rehearsals. About two weeks prior to the opening I had to wake up Big Dog for dinner. He sat up in his bed and mumbled something at me. “What?” I asked. More mumbling. “What?” Then, very loudly, “Did they do ‘The Prince is Giving a Ball’ yet?”

“Go back to bed.”

So, two weeks later, as Big Dog came down the stairs and was getting ready to head out with our oldest brother for opening night, I said, “Now they’re doing ‘The Prince is Giving a Ball.'”

“What?” he asked. Because, of course, he had no recollection of that previous conversation.

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