He's younger than I am.... a fact he delights in sharing. He's still not Medicare eligible, so I worry about his GERD diagnosis and continuing health care and pre-existing conditions as I try to remember that it's only 2 years and 4 months that separate us. He'll be old soon enough.
He stopped shaving a while ago, and now sports a full beard. Not many men look better with a lot of facial hair; my brother is one who does. He doesn't scratch it or pull at it or play with it. It sits there, on his face, making him look distinguished and delightful. He's all about balance - work, family, friends, exercise, religion, sex, learning, adventures all have a place in his life. Eschewing the razor is just another way he's made his life conform to his ideals.
He wears sneakers everywhere; they are comfortable and who are we to judge.
He drives a Chevy and a pickup truck and a Miata, a recent addition that makes him very very very happy. He carries a collapsible bike in his car, and cycles near and far. He doesn't believe that large metal tubes should fly through the air; his car takes him where he wants to go when he wants to go there. He's driven back and forth to Chicago more times than I can count; he always tries to stop at Little Cuter's house on the way.
"I love Uncle Jeff!" she says.
"SIR is one of my favorite people," he tells me in front of family and friends.
They make my heart sing.
He spent three hours in a toy store searching for exactly the right gift for FlapJilly. He donned a headlamp and crawled under the kids' deck to help repair the solar lights on the pergola. He bought a much-too-heavy-to-lift-without-help power tool in a garage sale in Indiana or Ohio or someplace off a highway on his way hither or yon, and dropped it off with SIR who he knew would love it.
They've bonded over home repairs and parenting daughters and loving their wives. SIR sent him to a White Sox game with corporate tickets for the area behind home plate; Brother's still kvelling and telling the story to anyone who will listen. The love goes both ways.
And today is his birthday. I'll call and sing and send him a card and I'll remember to tell him that he is special to me in a way that no one else can claim. He's known me and liked me for all of our lives. We've laughed and cried and celebrated and mourned and vacationed. He's sent letters I'll save forever.
He's the best little brother I've ever had. Today is his day. Lift a glass and send him some love.