On the day my nephew was born, my brother and I frenziedly texted back and forth. He was waiting outside of the OR with his wife and I was in the kitchen getting ready to cook dinner.
I’m the oldest of 5.
There’s a twelve year age gap between the the last baby brother and I. So I have always felt like more of a mother hen than a sister. Hell, I’ve changed all of their diapers. I remember warming up bottles and sitting up with them at 2 in the morning on school nights. I baby sat them. I helped them with their homework. I beat up bullies then I made dinner.
I also gave them a good slug in the arm when they used up the hot water or were too loud or were just being little assholes.
My younger brother – the new dad – is my anxious chicken. He’s a lot like me but more like my own son. When he was small he used to get worried about dying or getting sick. In retrospect, I wish that I had offered him more compassion than I did but alas, I was allowed to play the role of “just a sister” too. There was this one time in the summer when he drank a can of pop that had ants crawling all in it and around it. He came running to me for reassurance, “Kim, am I going to die?”
And just like any good grown up sister would do, I leaned in and said, “Oh my god. Yes. You. Are. They’re going to build an ant hill in your brain and eat it. Run along now.” His eyes bugged and he punched both hands into his mouth; his dirty fingers desperately crawled down the back of his throat trying to make himself gag. My sister and I rolled around on the summer grass laughing.
Don’t worry. Later that same year, he shot me in the back with a BB gun. He even framed the pellet for me.
When I went into labour with my son, I was terribly anxious because my OB was on vacation. I had an artificial disc in my spine and when I had arrived at the hospital, the anesthesiologist was googling it. I kindly told the doctor, “My OB already did the research and said it was OK to have an epidural.”
But, if you’ve ever had a baby, you know that no one listens to mom.
Everyone is too busy looking at your vagina parts.
So I panicked.
My brother and his wife along with my sister dove into action. They broke into my home and stole my ER scrubs. Then they went to the party store and purchase the thickest mustache they could find.
Dressed up like my OB who looked just like Tom Selleck, My brother then blasted through the maternity ward demanding morphine to my room STAT. The nurses roared and snapped pictures.
He asked for my chart and came storming in my room. I believe he said something like “Don’t worry. Dr.T is here now. I want you to push that baby out now. STAT”
I will never forget how he made me feel in that moment.
They camped out in that waiting room all night long.
Of course I’d be there for the delivery of their son but, we weren’t allowed at the hospital for the delivery of my nephew and we weren’t allowed to be there for 2 hours after. However, “text support” worked.
My brother said that the hospital was cranking out babies or something so I offered a home delivery “I’m a licensed nurse still. I can lay out newspapers on the floor. I’ll download some lullaby music for when the baby comes out. Make it all fancy”
He responded: “Chunky Monkey can slap the baby’s ass when he comes out. Give him a hockey stick and they can play hockey together by 6ish.”
And then it carried on to making fun of Shawn for not being able to grow a proper beard.
The final picture was of him wearing his OR scrubs and I wished him good luck and told him to shout out “nail gun STAT” before he passes out for shits and giggles. Give the nurses something to talk about.
….I got a picture of his sweet babe.
Hours later when we got to visit, we were all there crowded in the room – well minus one sibling because of work but his beautiful girlfriend was there and she counts.
We haven’t all been together in three years since my one brother moved out east. It makes me so happy that the gang is back together. All of the chickens are back in one coop. One city.
We are so much stronger together.
I am proud of my siblings. Every one of them. I don’t care what kind of job they have or how much they make or how big or little their house is or if they went to college instead of university or if they chose to go at all.
They are blazing their own trails in life.
What I care about is that they’re happy and healthy.
And when I heard my brother, the new dad, start to laugh right from his belly button on up, because of something goofy that the other had said – my heart eased, I breathed in, and I smiled.
Oh my chickens.
Somehow, somehow, admist our off-colour childhood we found solace, strength, and healing, in our humour.
In each other.
It could push us through just about anything.