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Marking My Brother’s ‘Arrival Day’

September 22, 2010

Now I know. The day my brother joined our family was Sept. 22, 1971. After I wrote a post about his “Arrival Day” being more important to my mom than his birthday, she told me the date he came home.

So here’s to you, Steven. Today, 39 years ago, we marked your arrival at our home on East Walnut Street with some amount of fanfare. As I wrote back on your birthday,

I remember the excitement that surrounded his homecoming. Well, OK, I remember my excitement.

I was 5 years old and had recently started morning kindergarten. I went off to school that day knowing that my new little brother would be at home when I returned. I talked about him to anyone who would listen. I said I wanted to bring him in for show-and-tell. I couldn’t wait to meet him!

After school, I ran into the house to find him in his playpen. Sooooo cute. Sooooo worth cooing over. My new little brother!

You always knew you were adopted. No one ever hid it from you. I’ll never forget that one time during our weekly fried-fish dinner outing at the Friendship Fire Co. with Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop when one of their friends stopped you to tell you how cute you were. You were about 5 years old at the time, with stick-straight, bright-blond hair and thick glasses that compelled people to call you “Einstein.” Though the rest of our family had dark, wavy hair, this well-meaning grandmother blurted, “You look just like your father.”

You replied innocently, without hesitation or judgment, “How can I? I’m adopted.”

I think I made some sound halfway between a gasp and a laugh. The poor woman looked, well, a little stunned and quite embarrassed. I kinda felt sorry for her, but more than anything, I loved how you held your adoptive status as simply, boldly a fact of your life.

Sure, as you got older, this fact got messier and more complicated for you. What doesn’t get messier and more complicated through the lens of teenage angst? I know you expressed some curiosity about your biological parents, and being adopted certainly didn’t make your tough times any easier.

Your life was really on the upswing when you died, and all these years later, it’s still sometimes hard to believe that you’re no longer around to see how it all would have worked out. On this anniversary of your arrival, know that your bold, crazy self is in my thoughts.

. . . . . . . . . .

Coach’s Query

What inspiring memory of a loved one is in your thoughts today?

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From → Grief / Loss

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