Let me take you back to a time long ago when every chance I got I denied that the oldest of my brother was even related to me. When I routinely wished the youngest of the three had the sense God gave a worm. To a time when the sun rose and set on my middle brother, and I knew I could survive as long as he was by my side.
My oldest brother was the evil genius of the group. Five years my senior and a bully to boot. My protection was the furthest thing from his mind. More often than not I was his personal test dummy. I will never forget one summer when I was eight years old and he had just finished building a really cool wooden go-cart. Of course every 'car' must go through a series of crash safety test. We lived in a residential neighborhood that was laid out on some rather steep hills. So with me in tow he took his go-cart up the street to the top of one hill. After tying me into the go-cart and gaging me, yes I was screaming to beat all hell. I had no desire to ride that contraption down that hill. But ride it I did, right down the hill and half way up the other side of the next hill. Then backwards till it came to a stop in the valley between the hills. Now, imagine if you will this is a housing tract with streets intersecting other streets. In all there were two side streets that luckily did not have any cars coming on the day I had the wild ride. Next was the jump test. That is right, he had to make sure that the go-cart would not fall apart when taken over a ramp, and that the ramp was placed correctly so the go-cart wouldn't hit the garage when sailing through the air. Once again I was tied and gagged and sent on my merry way. When he wasn't using me as a test dummy for his inventions, he was using me as a guinea pig for his education in the fine art of chinese torture. First came the water torture, soon followed by some evil torture the name of which I have yet to learn where he would pin me to the floor cover my head and strongly tap with quick repeated jabs on my chest bone. One might easily assume that given my oldest brothers disposition at terrorizing me he would turn to a life of violent crime or abusive behaviors as an adult, but amazingly he did not. Although it took until he was in his early thirties he did eventually become a brother that I can now say I am very proud of and happy to call my brother.
At times I have to wonder why I felt the way I did about the middle brother. No he was not mean in the way the oldest was but at the same time he never stopped the oldest from terrorizing me. At times he even joined in, like the time the oldest decided it would be great fun to shake the ends of the rope suspension bridge that ran over the Kings River in Kings Canyon National Forest with me in the middle of the bridge. That time my oldest brother must have realized he couldn't do it all by himself so he convinced my middle brother and two of my cousins to help him. With two on each side of the bridge they waited till I reached the middle and shook the ropes creating a wave affect nearly knocking me into the rapids below. I can only surmise that after the oldest left home when I was twelve a bond was formed with my middle brother. We lived with an Aunt and her husband who was not a very nice man. My middle brother went out of his way to shield me from the turmoil in that home taking me with him when he would go out with his friends. He helped me understand how to avoid our uncles anger. He was there for me in a way neither of my other brothers were. He was the father figure that I had so long wished for, even if he was only four years older. For many years I held him on a pedestal, but as so often happens eventually one has to face the imperfections that are within us all.
As for the youngest of my three older brothers, it is hard to explain. Although he is two years older than I am, I have always thought of him as my little brother. It is not that he is dumb, he is actually very smart about some things, but growing up he lacked any form of common sense. I spent my early teens trying to protect him from himself. Fighting fights that he instigated by saying the wrong thing to the wrong person. Putting out fires that he started by playing with fire or just being careless. Eventually it got to the point that I just automatically introduced him as my little brother, which oddly enough he never disputed. He even began introducing me as his big sister. Then about ten years ago I was visiting in California and had the chance to finally meet his teenage children. My brother went to introduce me and started to tell his kids that I was his big sister, then all of a sudden he stopped and looked at me with a confused look and said 'hey, wait. I am two years older and a foot taller. How are you my big sister?" I just laughed and said something about my being the wiser one of us.
No, these three brothers were not this little girls protectors, nor did they spoil me. Yet each one taught me important lessons. My relationship with each one has grown and changed over the years and should that evil sorceress come now I honestly would not be able to choose. Now I consider each of my brothers to be a blessing. My only regret is that there are little to no photographs of our childhood to capture the good memories, for yes there are many good memories of each of my brothers.
The photo in the begining of this post is one of only three photos I have of when we were children. Here is one of us all together as adults. As you can see we are not all shying away from the oldest in this photo as we did in the top photo.
Linking up with Melanie's "crowning moments" blog hop because I consider the realization that my brothers were all a blessing to me and not a curse to be a crowning moment in my life.