My youngest brother Fredo is eight years older than me. My next youngest sibling is 14 years or so older than me. So Fredo and I grew up together. My memories of him being around during my early childhood are far more abundant than my other siblings.
When Fredo sent me pictures of his very first grandson, I could not help but take a moment to process what just happened. I must say that I had no idea that his daughter, my niece, was even pregnant. We are not a family that has fully embraced the available social medias millions use to keep in touch. Once I did hear about the baby being born, I spent many days just trying to grasp what was going on.
I finally realized what I was going through. Fredo is my fourth sibling to become a grand parent . The three before him were just as significant, but I have a special bond with Fredo that made his transition to grand daddy hit me a little harder. Fredo spent the most time in my life during my early childhood and teen years. All of my other siblings were older, so they were off on their life journeys as young adults. Fredo was my mentor, and sometimes my protector. He even offered me safe haven during times when my struggles at home with my mom got too tense. I never left home to stay with Fredo and his wife, but knowing he was there for me offered me incredible comfort at a time I thought I would lose it.
Even after his first daughter was born, I still saw my brother as a kid sees his big brother. Almost larger than life, and with a sort of awe that one who has older siblings can relate to. Four kids and nearly two decades later, our relationship has evolved, but he was still the same guy who once challenged me to a sandwich eating contest. I was probably eight or nine years old. These were sandwiches made with plain old white bread, but he ate his in two bites. He sat and watched me nearly come to tears as I contemplated how I was going to eat my sandwich in one bite. Lucky for us, I conceded before I tried.
Probably one of my best memories, and perhaps the grossest one, was back when I was five or six. We shared a room in this small apartment. The apartment was a typical semi-slum place my working class mom could afford for us. I vividly recall the bathtub/shower having a few plumbing issues. The worst of which was that the faucets in the tub were easy to turn on, but often hard to turn back off. My mom struggled trying to get the water to shut off. So, Fredo and I shared a bedroom, and one night he decided he would torment me a little. I guess we had a dinner that night that gave him gas. Anyway, Fredo would put his hand over his behind as he farted. He would then run from his bed over to mine and stick his hand right up in my face. He did it several times that night.
He has always been my big brother, and I think I was still in the mind set that we were kids back in Santa Paula, CA growing up. Now that I have wrapped my head around the fact that he is a new grand daddy, I am not sure if I can ever stop thinking of him the way I do. I know he is a good father, and I get the feeling that he is going to be an awesome grandfather. Still, it just blows my mind he is going to be called grandpa.
“Yeah your grandpa once farted on his hand, and stuck it in my face!”
I can’t wait to tell that one!