I sat up and with tears in my eyes I asked, "Why did you DO that??"
My brother sat up and in all seriousness said, "You were breathing. You make a noise when you breathe and it's bothering me."
I cried. I mean, come on. I could control the pestering, I could control brattiness. I could not, however, control the sound of myself breathing. I just, well, breathed. Rather than roll my eyes and move on, I took it personally and decided there was some sort of flaw in my character and spent the next years of my life worrying how in the world I was breathing wrong.
Fast forward to middle school (and y'all, don't even PRETEND like you aren't jealous of my AWESOME BANGS.). We're driving in the car as a family, headed to the great Northeast, and my brother, who is now in high school, covers his ears and moans, "KATIE, you're making the noise again!" I look out the window and try to hide the tears that were surfacing to my eyes. Good grief. At the time, I couldn't figure out why it bothered me so much. After all, older brothers exist to make their younger siblings miserable to some degree. But, again, I took it personally.
Fast forward yet again to college. My brother and I are in a hotel room in Vienna, Austria, on Spring Break. We're backpacking through part of Europe with our parents and we got stuck in a room together. Sure enough, my brother brings up the noise AGAIN. Instead of crying, I roll my eyes. My brother shakes his head and turns on the TV. What we see on the screen are bombs over Baghdad. The United States has, only moments before, declared war on Iraq. We pull the curtains in our window and see a war protest in the courtyard below our room. We look at each other, look down at the protestors, look at the TV, and realize we are very, very, far from home.
And that's it. My brother never mentioned The Noise again.
All it took was an overseas trip, a protest, and a declaration of war to set him straight!
My brother pestered me about The Noise my entire life. No kidding. Oddly enough, however, when I think of my brother, The Noise takes a back seat to what comes to my mind. I idolized my brother. When I think of him, I think of riding our bikes together as kids and he's daring me to ride down a steep hill. I'm reluctant, but he persists. I shut my eyes, put my feet on the pedals, and there I go. I crash at the bottom of the hill and fly off my bike, and, rather than laugh, my brother rushes down to me and shouts, "You just did the most incredible flip ever!!" I totally didn't flip. But his lie was enough to take the sting of my bruises away. I think of a late night when we first moved to Arkansas from California, both of us feeling a little like outcasts, sitting at the kitchen table in the middle of the night, talking. We rarely talked like that. But despite our differences, we were both going through the same thing. I think about coffee shops where my brother's band would play in high school, the feeling of pride I had when I was the lead singer's little sister. I remember standing against the wall, swaying to the music, learning to love cappuccino and the band scene.
I remember growing up. I remember personal challenges we both faced as we came into adulthood and I remember being the first to make the call and the first to receive the call when those challenges stood over us. I remember when we became friends.
And this is why I am so excited for Cub and Naomi. A brother/sister combination is all I've known ... which means I know how good it is.
I went to a concert tonight at a venue that shared the same atmosphere as those coffee shops from high school. The band, Needtobreathe, performed their song, "Stones Under Rushing Water" and with my hand on my burgeoning belly, my mind drifted to the life that lies before me. As a sibling to a brother, now I will get to watch the relationship of a brother and sister, as their Mother. I can't believe it. And I can't wait. I know it's going to rush by.
As the years, roll by, like stones under rushing water,
We only know, we only know when it's gone ...
I know I've got to hold onto it as much as I can, while I can.
And when they bicker, and Cub tells Naomi she's making The Noise again, I will pull her aside and tell her that being a little sister to a big brother? It really is the best. Trust me.
And it only gets better.