It has been a while since I wrote a post from the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge prompts, so I decided I should write something for the next prompt, “a family member”.
“It’s ok—just climb down, Michael,” said the camp counselors. He shyly shook his head no and continued to remain firmly planted on the top of the blue monkey bars in just the right position to hide the rip in the back of his hand-me-down denim shorts that was threatening to show his red, blue and green briefs. He planned to stay there forever or at least until everyone else went home and it was dark enough that no one would see him.
It happened so quickly. At six years old, he was desperate to be like his cool older brother who could climb anything. He was so awesome that he could climb to the very top of the tallest trees and even the big round dome that covered the entrance to the slide! Michael thought if he just practiced hard enough, he would get there someday. But he attempted a maneuver to get to the top of the monkey bars that proved to be detrimental to his shorts. And so here he sat. Stuck.
I was busily running around the playground in my tired white tennis shoes with red socks, pink and blue flowered shorts, and a navy and white striped t-shirt that was too tight for my ever growing body. My braided brown hair was frizzy and forming a mane around my face.
One of the camp counselors informed me that Michael was refusing to climb down from the monkey bars and they didn’t know why. Like a mama bear, I quickly ran over to the monkey bars to see what was going on. I spied the rip in his shorts and knew exactly what the problem was. Hold on a couple of minutes, I said assuredly.
On a mission, I ran inside the school and found the craft supplies. I grabbed the masking tape and made my way back to Michael. His hazel eyes were ready to cry as one of his friends laughed and pointed at him.
On my tippy toes I reached up and carefully mended the shorts back together with the masking tape. Instead of a hole, he now had a masking tape patch. I convinced him that the hole was completely covered and finally he agreed to climb down.
I was beaming with pride as I stayed close to my little brother’s side—my friend who was the daddy when we played house with my dolls, my swimming buddy in our kiddie pool in the back yard, the little boy who I was so proud of because he could sing eerily like Britney Spears. He was my little brother and I knew I would always protect him, no matter what.
Thank you so much, he said with relief.
No problem, that’s what sisters are for, I said.
20 years later I still feel the same—even about all of my siblings, but especially about my little brother who isn’t so little anymore. Now he drives a shiny black Camaro (which I refer to as his bat mobile), lives in his own fancy apartment and has a great job. But if he needed me, I’d still run over and find a way to patch whatever needed mending.