family is story

Brothers: Lessons in Survival Training

Tim and EvanAs the baby of the family, trying to keep up with two older brothers was a daily training in survival of the fittest. Evan, my oldest brother, is nearly nine years older than me. Tim, the second oldest, was 4.5 years older than me.

Because Evan and Tim were rough and tumble, I was rough and tumble. The problem was that I wasn’t “as good” at it as they were. I broke out teeth, broke toes, arms, wrists, gashed cuts in my legs, arms and face, even stabbed my own knee with a machete while trying to be like them. I came out alive though; and I have the scars to prove it.

When I think back to memories of my brothers, they are rich with excitement and adventure. (Maybe that’s why I can be a little bit of an adrenaline junkie at times.)

  • We had a large, above ground pool with a sturdy wooden deck around the edge. Where the pool pumps and supplies were, the deck was elevated to a height that was kinda scary for a three- or four-year-old like me. But I loved jumping from the top of that deck into Evan’s arms as he waited for me in the pool.
  • With Tim, I learned to ride horses by myself. The first time we went riding, I was on the old Thoroughbred gelding, Rusty. Tim was on the snappy and young Welsh pony, Brighty. We rode to an area where a new subdivision was being constructed. As we rode down a freshly paved street, we heard puppies crying. Tim lifted a manhole cover and discovered puppies that had either wandered into the sewer or were dumped there. As he was about to climb down to rescue the puppies, my horse spooked and starting galloping up the road and toward home. I was scared and yelling at the horse, which only made him run faster. I don’t know how Tim did it, but he jumped on Brighty and raced after me, eventually catching up, grabbing the reins and bringing us to a halt. We returned and rescued the puppies. I slid off of Rusty and walked him back home.
  • Evan berated me into anything of which I was hesitant. Riding the Scream Machine rollercoaster at Six Flags Over Georgia—Evan “shamed” me into it. Eating mushrooms—Evan “forced” me. Touching my tongue to the nobby bits of a nine-volt battery—Evan tricked me.
  • A little closer in age, Tim and I liked to play pretend. Saturday afternoons were spent building tent houses in the living room. Or, we’d pile all of our stuffed animals, GI Joes, Breyer Horses, and model cars and planes onto Tim’s bunk beds and pretend we were Noah’s ark. We couldn’t get off the beds, nor could any of our animals, lest we be eaten in the shark-infested waters!

These few memories are tame—many involved bloody gashes. Somehow I was always in the wrong place with those two boys!

Are you the “little sister” to older brothers? What sweet or torturous memories do you have of growing up with them? Share memories in the comment section!

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