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Nothing makes you feel your age like a little brother

July 27, 2010 at 2:27 a.m.


BY APRILL BRANDON

As I grow older, it's getting harder and harder to deny my age.

The reason for this is simple. My stupid brother won't stop having birthdays.

No matter how hard I try to maintain the illusion that I'm still a rosy-cheeked gal in her early 20's, each year Brandon manages to shatter it by blowing out the ever-increasing number of candles on his cake.

(Note to readers: I know what you're thinking. "Her brother's name is Brandon Brandon? Was her mom on crack?" To sum up, complicated blended family background aside, we have different last names. And mom switched to moonshine years ago).

While throughout my writing career, I've focused on (re: embarrassed) numerous people I'm close to such as my husband (Señor Tight Buns), my mom, my best friends and even my psychoneurotic dog, Buffy, I've never written much about my brother and for a very good reason. Not only does our relationship show my less than mature side (like the time I whacked him with a toy light saber on his fifth birthday and made him cry...which he totally deserved, by the way) but worse yet, it also shows my warm and fuzzy side (like the time I almost beat up the 7-year-old who dared to bully him...which the bully totally deserved, by the way).

Now keep in mind that there is a 17-year age gap between myself and Brandon, meaning that I was well into adulthood when all this went down. But that's the thing about siblings. No matter the age gap, the dynamics of the relationship rarely change. We love each other, we fight each other, we annoy each other, we occasionally join forces and annoy our parents together, just like any other set of brother and sister.

But throughout it all, I've always been his cool, older sister; the person he always wanted to spend the night with and the one who gave him Mountain Dew after 5 p.m. even though mom expressly forbid it.

Alas, now that he has turned 12, I fear our relationship may take a turn for the worst. And by that I mean he's going to realize I'm almost 30 and as such, a total dud in the coolness department. So far, I've managed to fend off this catastrophic realization for years simply by lying about my age ("well of course I'm only 20, silly") but sooner or later, the kid is going to put two and two together and come up with 29.

I mean, he's almost a teenager. No matter how immature I act, I still can't compete with the colossal lameness of being practically 30, an age most kids attribute with death. Pretty soon he's going to view me as just another...(gulp)...adult who watches the History Channel for kicks.

But I guess a change is inevitable, even on my end. Already I'm noticing that the older I get, the more maternal I feel toward him. Why, the last time I saw him, I didn't try to give him a noogie once! And the last time I watched him while the parents were out, I even made sure I fed him. With actual food!

Naturally, this is only going to get worse as we both grow older. I'll only get more responsible and mom-like and he'll only get more "whatever" and teen-like.

But on the bright side, at least I'll always know that deep down, underneath all the emotional trauma he's suffered at my hands (most stemming from incidents involving toy light sabers), my little brother loves me, lame old age and all.

And if he doesn't, I'll give him swirlies until he says it anyway.

Aprill Brandon is a reporter for the Advocate. Happy birthday, Brandon. I love you. Butthead.

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