Oh, our sweet Big Brother! You turned 8 during an exciting time. Half of the "C Club"/your cousins and a beloved aunt and uncle were visiting and you were a week away from finishing "Year 3," just ahead of the Olympics coming to London. Forgive me that all that fanfare has delayed my telling how neat your birthday celebration was - high above our new city.
Big Brother played a season or two of soccer in Illinois, but living in London has lit a fire under this interest of his. So it has his admiration of luxury sports cars. The latter I chalk up to last spring when he was not yet at Our Sweet School and did the "school run" for Biggest Brother, walking through some very fancy neighborhoods four times a day. I keep telling him, but am not sure he understands, that cars he sees on a regular basis here are ones he'll likely not see again en masse outside an auto show.
But, back to "football." Playing it on the school's rooftop playground and watching the Euro2012 Finals (Hooray, Espana!) and maybe even lots of European travels have made this a passion of Big Brother's. He was the only one to be counted on not to doze during the finals as they stretched into extra time with penalty shootouts, his siblings long since tucked into bed. He sure held his own (Biggest Brother, too) playing with his Brazilian friends in Hyde Park at the Adidas exhibit last week. I can't say I saw this coming a year and a half ago, but am tickled whenever anyone here finds something to rally around.
Big Brother is the family blanket, cuddly and affectionate. Funny and sweet. Artistic and sensitive. He began as a big, quiet baby and lulled us into thinking that was going to be his demeanor, sweetly observant of Biggest Brother's entertainment, punctuated with a honky laugh. Then he became amazingly physically advanced. Big Brother walked very early and I cannot remember him not talking. But outside our house, when he was little, he was very quiet. With the exception of family (where he seemed to talk and create in paragraphs) and with select friends, he didn't have much to say. But he's always been a keen observer and a hysterical mimic.
I'm fairly sure he didn't say anything to most of the moms I chatted with for 2 years at Biggest Brother's preschool. I remember, though asking his kindergarten teacher in IL if she considered him shy. I could see her face contorting, trying very hard not to laugh as she gently explained to me that indeed, was he not shy in school, but often he was so very busy chatting upon arrival that she had to "encourage" him to get started with the day. The following year his lunch box would often come home nearly full. He claimed to be too busy talking to get to his lunch. Fine by me! I'd gladly serve him a big snack if he was happily visiting with school friends.
This little lovey has bloomed even broader in London. He has a wide circle of friends and is cherished at home. He is Biggest Brother's best friend (see also: their Spain souvenirs!) and is a super playmate to the girls. He may always be Archie Bunker to Big Sister's Edith. They've been a bit of an old married couple from the day she began to screech his name.
Big Brother is a middle child, and he wears it well. Tops on his birthday list was a "Spain kit" with his name and the number 2. Following on the great idea of a baseball shirt from his godparents given years ago, he is not only content with "2" -- he shines there.
So. On his birthday, surrounded by some of his very favorite people, Big Brother chose to soar above London on the newly constructed cable cars. You've never seen such a view of our city. In a thrill to my stomach I've not felt since clutching smalls on Ferris Wheels above Navy Pier or German Christkindlmarkts, we sailed, all too quickly, over the Thames. It was made so much richer by being with my own Biggest Brother and his sweet brood. I know Big Brother felt extra special to have some of his cousins with him. A day we'll never forget. And not just because we enjoyed Chipotle later.
Happy, happy birthday, Big Brother. I cannot believe you are eight, but I also cannot imagine life before you were here. You are treasured. I'm torn between wanting to freeze time when you are this sweet age and praying to be privileged enough to see the bigger boy, the teenager, and then the man you will become. I love you. We all do!