I still remember the day he was born, albeit vaguely, but I remember.
I was six years old and we were in a gas station bathroom when my mom's water broke. She started screaming, and a very confused Chelsea ran to the car to get dad. I couldn't figure out why my mom had just peed her pants when there was a toilet right there. Little did I know what would come next.
I don't remember much else from the day, but I vividly remember that part.
I do remember the time that I tried to smother Braeden in my bedroom. I wish I was kidding, but thankfully my mom walked in as I was hovering over a two year-old Brae with my pillow in hand. I remember swimming with him in the Shangri-La apartment that my grandmother lived in for most of my childhood. We would play "taxi cab" and he would grab my neck as I doggy paddled around the pool making car noises. The taxi game always gave way to "fireworks," where I would throw him into the air and he would flail his arms mimicking explosions in the sky.
I remember sharing a room with Braeden until I was fourteen. We slept with our beds pushed together, in a room plastered with Nsync posters that surrounded one huge Jar Jar Binks poster and another of the wrestler Goldberg. I remember walking him to school. I remember volunteering in his classroom when I was in junior high, because I had to walk him home regardless, and I wanted something to do with the time.
I remember beating him up a little bit, and his retaliation as he grew older. I have spent some time in our bathroom with the door locked as an enraged little brother pounded with a steak knife. I remember teaching him how to shoot a basketball, and I remember the little guy that swore he would make it to the NBA.
I don't possess the vocabulary capable of describing how much my brother means to me. Every time I get a fever, I end up breaking into hysterics crying about, "What if Braeden dies?!"
Braeden and I started at Absolute MMA together while I was living back at home after a failed relationship. For the first year I drove him to and from the gym. Those car rides are not too far into the past, but sometimes I miss them. Those rides made me learn to love the band Rise Against, and they made it so Braeden can now sing the Dixie Chicks "Cold Day in July" word for word. Braeden learned to drive with me on the way to the gym. The joke was, "You are so close to the median you can give the passing cars 'knuckles' as they pass." The result of that statement is a paranoid new driver having his sister continually say "knucks" whenever he crowded the other lane. The importance of our gym time, including the commute to and fro, can't be overstated.
This post is a little late, his birthday was on the 20th. For his special day I cooked him dinner, we went to the movies and Cold Stone, and then I stood in Gets Some Guns N' Ammo for an hour while Braeden and Ben asked the clerk questions about guns. We have come a long way from the days when I "made" him ketchup and toast for breakfast. The young man growing before my eyes now requests asparagus and Italian chicken with a tomato, caper, and basil sauce.
The young man I consider my best friend is graduating from high school, starting college, interning at the Sandy City Police Department, fighting on March 3rd, and continually making me proud.