Friday, April 30, 2010

Spotlight on My Brother!

This is my brother. I call him "Baby Bro" or "Broham" mostly. As a kid, he irritated me like crazy. He was closer to my sisters age and they were inseparable so, they both were really good at annoying me when, I wanted to just hang with my friends. Or as he would put it "Yeahhh mannn...let's hang out in my room with my friends with the black light on and smoke cigarettes and listen to Nirvana..." Which, I did that too.

My brother is "adopted". I say that in quotations because he wasn't officially adopted, but my parents raised him for most of his life and for at least five years of it, they had legal custody of him. He now only refers to them as his parents. They have come a long way, my brother and parents. They have had their ups and downs but all seems to be worked out now, finally.

When my Aunt still lived in the area, she used to come around from time to time. One day, she shows up and introduces us to her new boyfriend. My aunt has lots of boyfriends. They are all skeezy, mostly. however, "T" seemed to be an honest, loving, man who really loved my Aunt. He had three boys, my brother being the youngest at about 6. My aunt and "T" came over almost every weekend and hung out with my parents. My brother and sister were close in age, so they played a lot and became close. My brother spent several summers at our house because my Aunt and "T" needed a babysitter and I was watching my sister anyway and we had a pool. God, did those two torture me. You can not be cool when you have a 6 and a 7 year old in constant tow when you are 15. lol!

Things between my Aunt and "T" went down hill after a year. "T" got back into drugs (We didn't know this was an issue for him until he relapsed". My aunt broke up with him, but my brother still came around all the time. Him and my sister were tight. One summer, "T" asked my mom if my brother could stay the summer with us. That way, he knew he would be well cared for and safe. My mom agreed. He came to our house in one outfit and had no others with him. Apparently, he didn't have any others period because his dad had sold all of his stuff for money for drugs. My mom bought him new clothes for summer and a few toys as well. When summer ended, "T" didn't come and get him. Neither did he ever call to check on him. My mom enrolled him into school thinking we had just gained another member of the family. She called "T" and asked if we could just keep him for him and he agreed. However, he abruptly came and got him a week later when he found out he would lose out on a lot of his welfare money not having my brother around.

Then, about two years later, my brother showed up on our porch and asked to live with us one summer day. His dad was just arrested and he was living with his brothers, but they got arrested that day too. He hadn't eaten in two days and he walked the five miles to my parents house. My mom took him inside immediately and fed him. Then bought him some clothes. Then called child services. They awarded emergency temporary custody and in about a month, my parents had full custody.

Unfortunately, by this time, my brother was 13. He had ran the streets long enough and been on his own long enough that he had issues with authority, anger, and fighting. Plus going from an inner city school district that is happy to have kids show up, let alone try and teach them anything, to a suburban school district that was voted best in the tri-county area. He worked hard, but he still had lots of ups and downs. Lots of struggles with kids, teachers, and my parents.

Through it all, he really ever seemed to only trust me. No matter what was going on between him and my parents, we had been super close. He eventually graduated and went on to the Marines. He went AWOL after a three months, ended up coming home and selling drugs with his deadbeat brothers. He got kicked out of my parents house. He stole from our friends, he was doing drugs himself, and then his best friend was killed in Iraq. I think that kind of snapped him out of his self destructing behavior. He got a job with one of his good friends from school (Great guy. Has been a friend of the family for years and is a role model to my brother) and enrolled into school. Stopped hanging with the wrong crowd and surrounded himself with a good group of friends. However his relationship with my parents was somewhat rocky still.

Then in May of this year, he announced he had just found out he was going to be a father. Since then, my parents and him have been super close. He has finally got his butt into gear. Finished school, and is raising his family. He has a wonderful girlfriend, he is the step dad to a wonderful little girl (pictured with him above) and is the daddy to the cutest little girl around!

In a lot of ways, he is my role model. He has taken his life and lived it his way. Even if it was unpopular. He has made all of his own mistakes, and has genuinely learned from them. He is a great daddy and has always been a great Little-Big Brother :) I wish him luck and success in the future and hope we always remain as close as we are now!

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