Friday, November 27, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving! We spent the day relaxing at my brother and sister-in-law's house with too much food, probably too much wine, and lots of laughter and fun together.

I have the best family ever. Seriously, I do. 30 years ago when my parents kept bringing baby brothers home from the hospital one after another, squashing my dream of having a pretty little sister to dress up and play Barbies with, I wasn't so sure about this 'best family ever' status. When I was in junior high school and my brothers got into my make-up and drew all over the walls with it, I wasn't so sure either. In high school, when they'd hide my car keys from me... you get the picture.

But now that we're all grown up, they're not so bad. These are our senior pictures. They hang prominently in my mom's house, above her staircase, forever capturing the youthful optimism we all had.
*photo of our senior pictures on mom's wall:
senior pics

Yesterday, as most of us hung out together to celebrate Thanksgiving, I thought about this gift of brothers that my parents gave to me.

My oldest brother, is Brother E. He and I once ran across a field together because there was a rainbow on the other side of the school that was behind our house. I remember running and running, but that rainbow never got any closer to us. We'd have been probably five and three at the time, but it's one of my earliest and clearest childhood memories. Today he lives closest to me of all my brothers; his house is only 10 minutes away. He and I also work downtown in buildings right near each other. He's got a wicked sense of humor, is a great father and husband, makes beautiful things out of wood, and can play a mean game of soccer. I mentioned that he's funny - yesterday at Thanksgiving, he was cracking me up about every other time he spoke.

The next brother is Brother S, who lives in the San Francisco area. He and I were four years apart and I still remember one time when I was back from college for some reason. I'd been asked to drive him home from driver's ed class before I left to go back to school, but I had totally forgotten. I remembered as I was about halfway back to school. This was before cell phones, so he had to walk home. As I recall, it wasn't very cold out and the walk was about two miles, so of course it didn't kill him, but I still feel guilty about it to this day. Brother S has been all over the place. He was in the Peace Corps for two years in Kazakstan, he's traveled all over the world, and of course he lives out in California now with his beautiful wife. They are new parents - their son was born at the end of May. I'm going out to visit them next weekend, and I can't wait!

Brother K is next. My kids call him their Crazy Uncle K because of his sense of humor. I remember one time, we were watching an exhibition soccer game that was being put on for charity. One of the teams was from the local hospital - full of medical professionals and the father of one of Brother E's best friends, who was a well known doctor in town. During the game, someone got hit with the ball in the face (nothing serious), and Brother K, who couldn't have been older than 7 at the time, stood up in the stands and yelled melodramatically, "Is there a doctor in the house?" Today, he's a successful CPA, and you'd never guess with his career choice that he's got the most off the wall sense of humor ever. He used to live nearby, and we'd see him about every other week. When he and his wife moved from Des Moines to KC last year, I wanted to kill him. Turns out that being 3 hours away didn't change things all that much - we still see him about once a month or so, which is great.

My second youngest brother, is Brother L. He lives in KC with Brother K. Brother L was the closest thing I had to a sister when he was tiny because he had these amazing blonde ringlets that my mom didn't have the heart to cut for a while. Today he looks an awful lot like Jusin Timberlake, and he's our family's computer doctor. Every time there's a problem with one of our PCs, we call Brother L. Poor guy, I'm sure he's sick of it! He's got a great job working for a healthcare IT company, and he's wicked smart - he's one of the most well-read people I've ever met. He reads just about everything - from Buddhism meditation handbooks to classic novels. I like to ask Brother L for reading recommendations because if I've heard of the book, chances are he's read it. He's going with me to San Francisco next week; I'm looking forward to spending the weekend with him.

Brother Z is my baby brother. He was born when I was in fourth grade. When I went away to college he was 8 and couldn't pronounce his 'r' sounds. I remember being shocked when I came home on Thanksgiving break and he could say 'rickety rackety rail road track' like a pro. He's the only one of my brothers smart enough to attend the same college as me. (Iowa Sate - go Cyclones!) The others had to settle for second-rate schools like Central College, the University of Iowa, and UC Berkeley. Brother Z is getting his Master's degree in Forestry at our alma-mater. He knows everything you can think of about trees and has a respect for nature that is admirable. He's also into photography and he lets me borrow his cool camera from time to time. We're lucky enough to get to hang out with him quite a bit.

Yesterday as I was relaxing in my food and wine coma, I sat back and watched my family interact with that easygoing, goofy way that we have. I thought about how thankful I am to have these brothers of mine. And also the sisters-in-law they've brought to the family. We have good memories together, and are making new ones each year.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


Steph said...

Such a nice post, Monnik! Happy Thanksgiving from Canada!

Swishy said...

What a lovely family! (I have three brothers, and I thought THAT was a lot! ;) So glad you had a good Thanksgiving!

Barb said...

What a wonderful tribute to your brothers. I loved reading it. I'm glad you had a good Thanksgiving. Hopefully I'll get around to blogging mine before Christmas!

Little Miss Sunshine State said...

I bet your kids have a great time with all those uncles!

Have fun in SF!

Trisha Day said...

Great post, Monnik! Remind me to send you something that relates to what you were writing about. I've been saving it for you!!