Cube Clinkin’ on Steak Day’s Eve fer Kee-reist!

After the Engineer died, somebody told me they envied my relationship with him. If you have been reading for any length of time you may (or may not) know that the Engineer was my little brother. My immediate reaction was something like, “Say what?” Because I did get along with my brother. But we were siblings, fer kee-reist (my brother used to say “fer kee-reist” a lot). Of course we didn’t always get along! With 3-1/2 years between us, we were a little too far apart to be best buddies but not far enough apart that I was the admired caretaker kind of older sibling. For the most part, I think we got along fine until and unless a more interesting opportunity came my way and then I would abandon him. I know that I wasn’t always the nicest kid. I teased him a lot and he got me back when he could manage to do so. I had Big Sister Syndrome and we didn’t have any other siblings to bounce off of. Fer kee-reist, I was almost an only child! With all due respect to anyone who is or has an only child, I did want siblings. And I *think* that the Commander would have liked to have more children. But it was not in the cards for us.

Then we grew up. A funny kind of thing happens to siblings when they grow up. The Engineer and I got along fine for the most part, particularly when we were on his turf or my turf. Our own adult homes. When we visited the moominbeach with our spouses and children? Not always so much. We won’t go into the gory details but I realized that when adult sibs meet back on the homestead with the parents, oftentimes all the old crap, trivial as it may seem, rears its ugly head. We would take on our old roles plus our adult baggage. Add in our spouses and children and the fact that our parents (like most parents) couldn’t get out of their heads that we weren’t quite the same people as we were when we were newborn and 3-1/2 and things could get ugly. I think this kind of thing is universal. I see it with my own beach urchins when they come home. We all know how to push each others’ buttons and even if we tell ourselves we aren’t going to do that this time, somehow, we do…

But. My brother had a chronic disease. Hepatitis C. He knew that he was going to die early. Some of us were blocking that fact. In the last few years of his life, my brother and I let go of all that childhood crap. We (or he) had outlived it and we made peace somehow. We accepted each others’ shortcomings and tried to draw upon each others’ strengths. Something like that… He died five years ago in June and I have had to go on more or less alone. As a sibling, that is. I am certainly not alone in the world. I slog along doing my job and watching the beach urchins grow up into who they have become. I miss him though. I wish he could’ve been around when Grandroobly was dying because I didn’t know what the HELL I was doing. And I wish he could be around now to help me deal with The Commander on the days when I don’t feel like I’m doing a very good job communicating with her… And I just wish he could be around to sit on the moominbeach with me and watch the lake freighters go by.

Last evening, I was home alone and somebody clinked ice cubes. Today is what would’ve been the Engineer’s 53rd birthday. Fer kee-reist. I think that Grandroobly and the Engineer were doing a fly-by on the Edmund Fitzgerald to remind me that the next day (that would be today) was the Engineer’s birthday. Love you, old boy.

P.S. I am shamelessly stealing Steak Day from Pengo Janetto (or maybe Dogmomster, not sure here). Because those who are up at the moominbeach today are definitely making a steak dinner, which was the fave of both the Engineer and Grandroobly. I think that some of them are drinking margaritas (fer kee-reist!) instead of the Manhattans that the old coot and the old boy would favor. But whatever. The Engineer would approve.

One Response to “Cube Clinkin’ on Steak Day’s Eve fer Kee-reist!”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Happy birthday to the Engineer and me! I lost two brothers and only my youngest one is still alive. (15 years difference) We have a great relationship, but he’s really not in my generation and we don’t share any childhood memories. I really miss that about losing my other two brothers. I KNOW about pushing each other’s buttons; we’re OK for a few days all together, but if it stretches into weeks, we start a bit of sniping.