Monday, March 16


I've posted things on my mom and my dad but I've never talked in depth of my brother, Michael. I'd like to do so today because he deserves some credit.

When he first became a father it was weird to see my little brother care for a tiny baby but he took to it like a fish to water. He and his wife, Laurie, have a pretty laid back parenting style that seems to work. Their kids are both personality plus and very smart. I vividly recall walking in to their house when my nephew, Jake, was less than a year old. He was just a tiny little thing laying on the floor with his head resting on a Boppy holding a bottle watching a golf tournament. Michael was in the back yard and Laurie was in the kitchen a few yards from Jake. He was perfectly content as the dog, an attentive sheltie, lay curled up next to him. I waved hello to Jake, he smiled at me then went on to watch the rest of his rounds of golf. If he could have said "yo" he would have. Jake also had early and inexplicable fondness for Miles Davis. He would lay on that Boppy with his bottle and listen to Miles for ages perfectly happy to do so. That's pretty much how the kid is to this day. Very laid back and content.

Yesterday I called Michael but got my niece, Alex, instead. We chatted for a while before she revealed that my brother was at batting practice with Jake. I tried him on his cell to leave a message because I knew he wouldn't pick up. It's one of my favorite things about him. When Michael is with his kids he is very "in the moment" and rarely talks on his cell or uses the Blackberry. He never answers his cell on the weekends because it's a business phone. If he uses any device off hours, it's because he's doing something for the kids. He may check a Dodgers score for Jake or make arrangements to drop the kids off at a friend's house but on the weekends that's about all he'll do on his Blackberry.

After yesterday's shocking display of lame-ass parenting it reminded me what a great job my brother is doing. I told him I admired the fact that he doesn't pick up his phone at practice because it's a rare ability these days. He just said "well yeah" a if to say "I'm not one of THOSE parents".

I also love my brother because he is loyal beyond description. For instance, an ex-boyfriend, who gives me the creeps, keeps trying to re-connect with me. I politely decline each time but every other year or so he'll resurface and try again. It's not flattering, it's annoying. I hold no grudge for the guy but do have memories of lots of drama so I choose to stay away from him. Anyway, this weekend he tried, yet again, to re-connect this time via Facebook. I promptly hit the "Ignore" button then thought 'Oh God, I just know he's going to try to befriend my brother and my dad.' I called my brother today for a few reasons then got to the ex. I just said "Hey if --- throws you a friend request on Facebook could you please just hit "Ignore"? His reply was short and sweet "Sure. No problem." There was no question as to why or what had happened, no comment, no judgement just a solid "sure". How great is that? How many times have you just needed somebody to say "No problem" without any question and actually received that response? It's pretty cool. It's because Michael is repelled by drama. He doesn't want to know about it and he certainly doesn't want to participate in it. It's another rare quality that I admire. Of course there are times when he probably should intervene but doesn't. Like this afternoon.

While on the phone with him today he asked "Can you hear that?" he was referring to a car horn. Well, more precisely a school bus horn. He has some unfortunate neighbors. The father is apparently an alcoholic, the mother suffers from depression, at best, and has a history of suicide attempts and they have two kids with autism. I know, bummer huh? Well, needless to say it's an unhappy household. When Michael and Laurie began a conversion of their garage into a home office these neighbors contacted the city daily attempting to stop all construction. Laurie acted as an entirely by the book contractor so the neighbors never got anywhere plus it did nothing to improve any of the the other neighbors feelings for them. In fact their annoying and pointless actions alienated them and the whole street turned on them. ANYWAY, it seems the horn honking is a daily ritual. It's the school bus alerting the parents that the kids are home and a parent is supposed to come and get the kids at the curb. Because the bus is full of special needs children the bus driver can not leave to go knock on the door. My brother knows when the bus arrives for pick up and drop off because he hears the honk every week day. Unfortunately the times, although very regular, are a daily surprise to the parents. Michel says that the last record was 14 minutes of honking. As we spoke they were about to break the record. After hanging up I got email updates on the bus status. I kept telling my brother to go help the poor bus driver by knocking on the neighbor's door but he refused. Again, not wanting any exposure to drama. (When the ambulance came to pick up the neighbor following her suicide attempt, Michael worked in the back yard ignoring the scene that held the rest of the neighborhood transfixed.) The driver would occasionally drive away to drop off another kid then return and try honking again. In the end, the bus driver honked for 45 minutes blowing the old record out of the water. It's bad enough that those parents didn't come out to pick up their own kid for 45 minutes but what about all of the worried parents on the route who had to wait all that time for their kids to get home? I'm sure it had a domino effect that prevented other parents from picking up other kids from school on time. The thought makes me nuts! I emailed Michael with a "Dude, you should really go knock on that door. The mom may have finally succeeded in offing herself." His reply was only "Maybe?!"


He does make me laugh. Here is one of the photos of Michael I found on my MacBook Photobooth one day. He doing what he does best, being a goofy Dad. I wish there were more like him.

1 comment:

kb said...

Great post on Michael. Although, to this day, I still find it hard to see him any older than eleven! Love the picture of him. He looks like the Elephant Man.