Monday, January 13, 2014

This one is for my brother.... with Love

I just wanted to share something that my brother gave me for Christmas! But first a little back story of he & I's relationship.  My brother, Fernando is 15 years younger than me.  Despite the age difference we've always been really close.  I think that, had a lot to do with the fact from practically his birth, I was the one who watched him when my mom worked.  Which since we were a one parent family was a lot. So I was the one who babysat him.  My older sister Mary had already left our house & was a mom of her own.   I remember my high school boyfriend, driving baby Fernando "Nando" around in his car trying to get him to go to sleep , so we could be "alone".   I remember changing countless cloth diapers of his. (My mom insisted on cloth diapers.... UGH!) I understood we couldn't afford disposables but rinsing cloth diapers in the toilet was the most disgusting chore I've ever done. EWWW! But for my brother I would have done anything.  I loved him so much.  I felt like I was a second mom.  It surely let me know how hard it was raising a child & while I still wasn't a saint. I did atleast understand, this was not something I wanted for myself, just yet anyway.  But boy did I love that boy.  I loved him so much.  When my brother was 4.  He & my mother moved to Florida to take care of my grandma.  I went too, but decided after two weeks in Florida that I missed my (new) boyfriend too much & moved back to New Jersey! On my own... at 19! In ways I'm glad I did, & other ways it was torture.  I missed my brother so much. (Ofcourse  I missed my mom too) but my brother I felt "needed" me.  I would send "care packages" of clothes & toys to let him know how much I missed him.  I didn't make a lot of money but whenever I could I would.  It was always my desire to have them come back to NJ.  I missed them both so much.  When my brother was in like the 2nd or 3rd grade.  They moved back.  Sadly my grandmother had passed away & that was the reason.   They moved in with me.  We were back together... & that brought both complete joy & complications too. Over the years my brother & I's relationship has both evolved & stayed the same.  My sister, brother & I lost our mother way too young but for Fernando who at the time of her death, was almost the same age I was when he was born, it was probably the hardest.  Teenage years are never easy throw in the fact of losing the only parent you have and it was torture I'm sure.   I never really realized that, we were both 15 when something major happened in our lives.  I wish his had been a blessing like mine. But life isn't like that... you can't script it.  Anyway... after my mom died, I agreed "ofcourse" to be Fernando's legal guardian.  My husband & I tried our best to do our best.  I'm sure we didn't always.  He was a handful at time, like all teenage boys I imagine.  In ways we were lucky... he never got into any "major" trouble.  He was a good boy BUT we were always on him to clean his room, or do his chores.  The older he got the more we fought.  We wanted respect & he wanted to be left alone.  When Fernando was in his mid-twenties, it came to a head, we wanted him to experience life & start taking responsibility & he has never been good with change.  But it was beginning to affect my husband & I's relationship & I knew something had to give.  It was time for Fernando to move on & out.  It wasn't easy & it wasn't done in the most "friendliest" of ways. Fernando & I got into another argument & I guess Fernando had enough, he apparently had been saving money & just like that said he was moving & he moved into his own apartment.  I worried so much if he would be ok.  Since he had never been "responsible" for anything like this before... Bills, keeping a steady job, etc.  I worried, & worried.  You know what?  It was probably the best thing for him.  It has forced him to do things for himself... & he's been gone over a year & hasn't asked for help once.  I am incredibly proud of him.  I hope he knows that & how much I have and always will love him.   This Christmas I got his Christmas card & it was a beautiful gold foiled card that read,
For my Sister,
The Lord has
a wonderful reason
for everything He does-
and I'm so glad
His plan for my life
Included giving me
A sister like you.
You're a real blessing,
and I hope you know
how much I always
thank God for you.

Merry Christmas!
Love Nando

*Inside it he wrote:  Missy, the card says it all, even tho at times I may not have showed it. I'm grateful and appreciative to have a loving sister like you.  Love you, Nando  Merry Xmas & happy New Year.

That card means so much to me.  I've always worried about him.  I've always only wanted the best for him.  I still worry about him,  I want him to be happy in his life.  I want him to find that special girl who will love him for him & most importantly I want him to have all the wonderful things in this life that he deserves. On Christmas day,  I was telling him how much the card meant to me, & he said... I'm starting to get it. I'm starting to grow up.  Hearing him say this,  made me feel so proud. Fernando,  I love being your sister & I always will.   Missy

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