Starting to talk in a nice calm voice they talked about random stories of their past to get me involved in the conversation. The words I wanted very much to hear, but scared to death to hear, then finally breached their lips. The words that made me think into the future through the good and the bad. I was going to be a big brother.
They decided not to tell me till three months after they knew, to make sure the baby was healthy. It was.
After finding out that it was going to be a boy, we scratched Lulu Louisiana off the list of names. Still not sure, we came up with about four names that could suit the little boy. Several months later I was holding my mom's Rolex, timing how long it was for the next contraction to start, then stop. Something that they will never drop for the rest of our lives happened that day…I broke the beautiful Rolex (sorry) running up the stairs while my mom was having contractions.
More importantly, my little brother was born that day. I didn't know if I should be excited or not. Is all the attention off me now?, I thought to myself. Shocked that there was another living being in the house I was scared what the rest of my childhood life would be like.
Coming home from the hospital, eating his first solid food, saying his first word, taking his first step, losing his first tooth - these are all mile markers in a little one's life. There could also be bad mile markers. Breaking a first bone, getting in his first fight, having to go in and out of a hospital for over a year. These are bad mile markers, but they are mile markers.
Having a brother that is nine years younger than you but still looks at you as if you are his age is one of the best feelings ever. 'Grady, can we please play some football on your bed? It's so fun. Or even some cabbage ball maybe, I just want to play.'
Hearing those words makes me feel important and a big influence. Sometimes I could be a bad influence but I try not to…. It's hard. Having a little buddy running by my side everywhere I go is amazing.
This all started May 17 2008, getting reading to go to Malo for an exciting night in the upstairs party room for Jeff's birthday dinner.
'Jo Ann! Come here!' Jeff screamed from the bathroom. 'What is this on Pablo's right side?'
'I don't know,' she responded. 'Should we take him to the doctor?'
Jeff and Pablo were in the tub when the 'bump' was discovered for the first time. After almost falling through a hole in the floor at Malo, it was decided that Pablo was to go to the hospital. I went home with Polly and sat by the phone. After many hours in the late hours of the night my mom called with a tone in her voice that sent shivers down my back when I heard her first word. She said Pablo has a tumor and...I didn't hear the rest. I threw the phone into the pillows and picked up my backpack in an attempt to swing it over my head and slam it onto my bed. Since gravity exists, the bag hit my head and made me five times more mad.
Needed to talk to somebody just to let it all out. I called my best friend, who I've known since kindergarten, Julio. I vented out to him over the phone in the backyard for almost an hour. I went inside and just cried and all these memories came through my head and made me cry more. I finally cried myself to sleep and that life-altering day came to an end for me.
Planning out the next six months of chemotherapy I didn't know what to think. Were those days of having fun over? Was I going to be lonely again? Was he going to be laid up in a bed? NO, NO and NO. There were some minor schedule setbacks in the FBF league (Fun Bedroom Football) but the games still continued. Until he wasn't allowed to play rough any more. The letters FBF stood no more. Pablo still came into my room trying to resurface the league but every time we got caught by the higher authority of the parents.
After some setbacks and some horrible news and some extremely good news then some more bad news and some good news and then some bad news and some ok news, at some point the good news comes in less often and with less impact. Then what? You're out of options? Feeling hopeless? Feeling like you can do more but don't know what to do? YES, YES and YES.
That is what is going on right now. The questions What does that mean? What now? And just plain out, Why? are running through our heads at every moment. We are trying to think.
Nothing but blanks are coming up. I don't know what to say. I never thought this far ahead into the future when the idea of having a little brother came into play. 90% of the time I'm with Pablo I'm smiling. In the last year 60% of the time I talk about Pablo I'm smiling.
I love the little boy so much and I hope this pain goes away.