I had a very good birthday. I got some nice presents. My boss got me a cake. My family got me a cake. My Mom actually cooked. I got chocolates (heaven for a chocoholic). I got money to go shopping – which I’ve already spent. I got some costume jewelry. I got a couple of birthday cards. I got lots and lots of Happy Birthdays from the cyberspace community as well as some from people I know in real life. Everyone was nice to me.
All that was good. All that was . . . well, nice.
Now, ask me what blew me away. Ask me what impressed me. Asked me what really made me feel loved.
Go ahead. Ask.
Breakfast in bed.
Pancakes. Sausage, extra crispy. Toast. Butter. Syrup, heated in the microwave. Orange juice.
This delicious aroma was the first thing I noticed as my consciousness tried to surface through layers of sleep. I am not a morning person. I am a grumpy, drowsy, cranky night owl who looks at sunshine accusingly and tries to hide under the covers. It usually takes me hours to wake up completely.
As a rule, noise wakes me. And my house, full of people from sunrise to well past sunset, is anything but quiet. So I try to ignore the noise, try to scavenge a few more minutes of sleep. And I stay in bed until I absolutely can’t help it.
On this particular Saturday, yesterday, a day in my sacrosanct weekend, what woke me up was breakfast in bed. And what a pleasant wake-up that was.
I must point out that this wasn’t a boyfriend or husband or significant other bringing me a surprise token of his affection. This wasn’t a lover bringing me nourishment after a night together. This wasn’t someone trying to quedar bien. This wasn’t someone who had to do this.
What wonderful person brought me homemade pancakes? Okay, they were instant, but still homemade. Baby brother.
I call him baby brother when I talk about him but he is a baby brother who is 13 years old, two inches taller and 20 pounds heavier than I am. When my friends or coworkers meet him they cannot reconcile this minimonster with the baby brother I talk about all the time.
If you read my little sister tale, you know that I am very close to baby brother. He is the only son, the youngest in a family of temperamental, strong women. He has a weird sense of humor, is easily amused and has a short attention span. He has an incredible imagination and a musical talent that comes from God-knows-where. He was born when I was 13 and I didn’t bond with him until he was four or five and started to follow me around whether I liked it or not.
Baby brother is the first to notice when I’m upset. He knows what kind of books I like and what kind of television I watch. I am the tutor when he needs help with his homework. I am the stepmom when we sneak him into rated R movies. I am the one who gives him money when needs something.
Two years ago baby brother bought me a camera for my birthday. Granted, it was a cheap little K-Mart camera. But he knew that my camera had broken and that I needed one, so he saved his allowance and bought me one. Last year he got me a Minnie Mouse pen. This year he has bugged me for a little bit last month, wanting to know what I wanted for my birthday. Keeping in mind that he doesn’t really have any money and that he would go out of his way to get whatever I asked for, I asked him to take me to a movie or to lunch.
My birthday came and went; it was on a Wednesday. I didn’t give his intended birthday present a second thought and he didn’t say anything. Apparently, he was out of money and trying to figure out a suitable substitution. In a moment of clarity he came up with breakfast in bed. It was thoughtful. It was sweet. It was heartfelt. It was the best birthday gift I got because it made special. Loved. And if you’ve ever met a 13-year-old boy, then you’ll understand how truly remarkable this kind of display of affection is. (Did that make sense?)
Anyway, since the breakfast I have decided to upgrade baby brother to younger brother. And now that I think about it, it kind of has a nice sound to it. Doesn’t it?