April 2018

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Brother Matt

Brother Matt is kind and funny. He's got swag, especially with his bicycle onesie. He is a good athlete, a good dancer, and (as far as I can tell) a good father. Today he is diving into his forties instead of just perching on the rim. Welcome to the deep end of the pool, Brother Matt.

Brother Matt is six years younger than I am, so I remember when he was born. This is how I remember it: Sister Jenn and I went to my parents' friends, the Ellis's, home. When Dad called to say I now had a baby brother, I got to talk to Dad on the phone. I said, "I bet I know his name. His name is Matthew." Though this statement shows no particular brilliance or talent for language, for some reason I remember that this is exactly what I said. After the phone conversation, Sister Jenn and I went to the field with the Ellis children, and Dirk ran over Jenn's dainty leg, breaking it.

All three children in our home had our own bedrooms, lined up down the jetway that Mom called "the zoo." Matt was assigned the back bedroom down a long hallway in our home deep in the woods. It was scary back there. For the first years of his life, Brother Matt crawled out of his bed during the dark of the night and into the hall and slept in a sleeping bag on the blue shag carpet in the hallway next to Jenn's and my rooms every night. So that Brother Matt could not drag himself and his sleeping bag into her room, Jenn started locking her door, the closest one to his room. He crawled his way onto the yellow shag carpet in my room. Mornings when I awoke, he was often there, but before being scolded, he snuck his way back into the hall. I once told Mom that she should have given Matt the first room on the hall, since he was the youngest. My room was not so scary. She started packing my suitcase and told me that if I didn't like the home, I could just leave. I laughed. I don't think that was the right response, but I stayed home in my yellow room.

I liked to dress Brother Matt up when he was young. I must have thought of him as a large doll. Once, he was Santa Claus. Once he was an elf. Another time, he was a very pretty young lady. I took pictures of him each time, but lost track of the roll of Matt the pretty young lady. Mom later found the film and had it developed. As she was looking at the pictures, she showed me one of the photos of young Matt and said, "Now who is this pretty girl?" I told her, "Look closely." She shook her head. Nope, she didn't know this girl. "Look again," I told her. Nope. "That's your son." Mom went ashen.

Matt played a lot of soccer, so Mom and the other moms did a lot of carpooling. When he was in junior high school, Matt, three of his soccer buddies, and one mom were in a car collision with a truck. When Mom and I arrived at the intersection, not far from our house, Matt and the others were still in the car, which was in the ditch. Matt was okay as it turned out, but he had a laceration over his eye and quite the gory waterfall trickling down his face. He was trapped inside the car, but when I walked up to the window, he gave me his trademark thumbs up. He was okay.

Brother Matt lives a charmed life. Every other potential close call turned out fine, too. When he spun out the Camero on the beltline, no semi-truck was coming. Thumbs up. When he decided to brave the New York City winter and sleep outside one night when he got mad at Sister Jenn, she went to get him. Though he was a very pretty little girl, he's all boy.

When I came out as a lesbian, and my parents welcomed me home but not my partner, Brother Matt talked with them, telling them that if they really wanted me to be in their lives, my partner would be, too. His advocacy invited me into the family as a full member once again.

Matt and his girlfriend at the time, Kristin, now his wife, came to visit Ann and me in Seattle. At the end of the visit, they had an intense argument about whether or not he would join Krisitn in the trip to North Carolina to adopt their dog, Stella. As they argued in the back room, Ann said, "They're getting married. There's no way this would be such a big argument otherwise. They're practicing for children." Now they re married and have three children. Sadly, their chocolate lab Stella Blue passed last year.

After my brain surgery, Brother Matt came from New York City to Seattle to stay with me one week-end. I think he liked the naps, as he doesn't seem to get a lot of rest at home. I liked having him here.

Brother Matt has a blond-haired, blue-eyed wife and three blond-haired and blue-eyed children. He loves his family, and his family adores him. He is, to tell you the truth, easy to adore. Imagine Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump only cooler, groovier or filthier (depending on your age). Adorable.

I love you, Brother Matt. Happy forty-one. Sister Mary

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