Brotherly Love

I feel so lucky to have my brother’s reaction to my birth written down to be read and laughed about years later.

October 17, 1984

The October sun filtered down on the streets of Putnam, Connecticut. In the white two story house set high above the busy street the phone rang.

“Hello,” followed by expectant silence.

“Hello. The baby was born just five minutes ago. A girl and everyone is fine. Will you tell Chris?”

“Oh that’s wonderful,” I responded. “I’m so happy and I’ll tell Chris right away. Goodbye.”


Christopher, playing with Castle Grayscull in his bedroom, looked up when I sat down on the bed.

“Chris, Daddy just called and you have a baby sister.”

Christopher’s brown eyes looked right through me and he didn’t bother to answer. Secure in his four- year tenure as top kid in Mom and Dad’s heart his attitude reflected his thought.

“Well, what did you expect? I’ve heard too much about that baby already. Now she’s here. No big deal!” and he went back to his play. That evening when Daddy came home from the hospital Chris didn’t ask about the baby or show any interest in her at all.

The next day, dressed in brown corduroy overalls and matching striped shirt, Christopher went with his Daddy and me to the hospital in Massachusetts. Feeling very independent he scrambled in the car, climbed into his car seat, snapped his seat belt with a brisk click, and rode away, king of all he surveyed. The Interstate stretched through the wooded hills rioting with deep yellow, rusty oranges and brilliant scarlets.

After Daddy parked the car Chris hopped out and holding Daddy’s hand firmly, he trudged up the long steps heading to the tall red brick hospital. He maintained his best man of the world attitude in the elevator and down the hall to Momma’s room.

She, dark curly hair tousled, lay among the pillows in a pink satin negligee.

“Hi, Mom.”

“Hi, Honey. How’s my boy?” Momma reached out and smoothed Chris’ hair.


“Climb up on the bed so I can hug you,” Momma said as she reached to help him up.

“What’s that?” Chris asked pointing toward the bedside table.

“A thermometer, dear. Daddy has gone to get the baby now so you can see her. Won’t you like that? We’ve named her Carolyn.” And Momma gave him a big hug.

“Daddy bought me a new Gobot. It turns into a submarine. Want to see it?” Chris dug down into his pants pocket to produce the treasured toy.

Just then Daddy and Carolyn came in. “Oh, look, Chris, here’s your baby sister.”

Tenderly his parents showed Carolyn to him and waited expectantly for Chris to melt at her winsome charm and become a proud and protective big brother.

Chris did not melt. He glanced casually at her and began to organize his resources for a complete exploration of the hospital room. He climbed down to the floor, smelled the roses and chrysanthemums on the window ledge, drank out of the water pitcher, turned on the call light and peeked under the curtain at the patient in the next bed.

Room investigation completed, Chris scaled the bed for a two minute cuddle with Momma, slid down to the floor and made ready to move on to bigger challenges. At this point Daddy interceded.

“Chris, would you like to hold Carolyn?”

“No, I’m going to the bathroom,” he said as he turned the knob on the door.

When he came out Daddy tried again. “Carolyn would like for her big brother to kiss her.”

“I want to go home now and watch ‘Masters of the Universe.’” He reached for his coat.

So the visit ended with a brief kiss for Momma and none for Carolyn.



3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Interesting vignette. Very secure in himself. Then (& now).

  2. 2

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    It was practical. Keep on posting!

  3. 3 said,

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