Some children are born into families and can’t recall a time of ever being truly alone. Older brothers and sisters were a routine pest and a necessary bane to existence. Some born so close together they scarce can remember the days of solitude or life without their kindred souls. Not for me though, I was almost seven before my baby brother entered my life. And life hasn’t been the same ever and I am truly grateful for that.
Now at 6, I was blessed to not know the mechanics of how my brother got into my mother’s belly. But I knew enough to know that it was a magical time. In October of 1981, we went to Shreveport’s Red River Revel, an annual arts and crafts fair and in a pharmacy there my mother purchased a pregnancy kit. The November before a couple in my church and close friends of my parents (Bryon and Janice Mann) had a baby boy. And my dad told my mother in church that he wanted one of those. So just like any other toy or thing that I wanted I assumed my parents went and got him for me. So I announced to the entire first grade the Monday after that weekend that my parents went to Shreveport and got me a baby brother.
I think I must have tormented my poor first grade teacher and looking back I now realize why she kept telling me not to declare that I was having a brother, that it easily could be a sister. And that my brother would be born in the summer and NOT anytime soon. Although I was insistent from October on that it would be just any day now and I would not be an only child. And that no matter what anyone said, I was having a brother. At my mother’s shower I recall telling people that we would have no need for anything pink. “Just throw it in the trash mama! You are having a boy!”
Jamie’s due date was June 4. His name was Jamie, you would think short for James, but nope! He was named after Jamie Frame, a very handsome character from the soap opera Another World. From the end of May until June 3, I watched Jamie Frame and mother’s swollen belly hoping soon that at least one Jamie would be in my house. And on June 3 we ate Mexican food and drove over every railroad track in town. After all we were hoping that he would arrive on time.
Sure enough I can remember this as plain as if it were yesterday and not 29 years ago. The next day Mama was straightening the bed in the bedroom and I was getting ready to ride with Ms. Dena to go to Vacation Bible school. Mama told me that today was the day I would be getting a baby brother and sure enough I did. He was one of the best presents my parents ever gave me. After that day I was never alone. I had someone out there to be my little brother. Someone for me to love, protect and care for. He grew up to be one of the few people that I can honestly trust. He’s not my baby anymore, he’s got his own life and wife now. But secretly I am hoping soon that maybe they will head to Shreveport, and get me a niece or nephew. Come on, I am not getting any younger!
Being the youngest of three children, I can truly say I was blessed with two siblings that I could look up to. Most of my childhood was spent acting like a tough little tomboy because I wanted to be just like my big brother. I spent hours on my bike riding around with Jamie and his friends and I loved every minute of it. Even as we grew older, I still found myself emulating my older brother; he’s funny and smart and genuinely one of the nicest people i’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. On Saturday we had a birthday cookout at his house and looking around the table seeing his friends and family and his beautiful home and wife, I couldn’t be more proud of him. Love you bubba! Happy Birthday!