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There’s only one person that can share the Christmas Eve memories I have, and the stories about where I grew up and how I was raised. My brother is the only one that can really understand my crazy emotions and knows just the right ridiculous joke to send me to make me cry laughing (though honestly our humor is skewed a bit).

Today it’s his birthday.

In the days wedged between Christmas and New Years, Ned stole my December thunder by arriving right at the end of the month on the 28th, so we share the birthday/holiday mess. When we were younger we spent a lot of Ned’s birthdays up at the Farm skiing with family. Others were in Maine at our Grandmother’s, and some at home. I hate the part of living in Italy that makes me miss so many moments at home. I don’t think many people understand the permanence of living abroad, and how it will affect relationships if you don’t keep up communication.

Thankfully, through random memes and nighttime conversations on our living room floor when I’m home, my brother and I are still up to date on life, and I am so happy about it because it’s just plain nice to have someone that shares so much. Nostalgia, memories, likes and dislikes (mostly – he still likes some foods and music I can’t handle), I can complain to him and him to me. He knows who I was at eight, ten, sixteen, twenty-one. He knows who I am as a kid, and not many people do – especially when lives take us in different, international directions. In this world with so much crazy, having someone around to pull the kid out of you – the Christmas-excitement (actually, the general holiday excitement with Ned) the amusement park rides, the cannonballs off the dock, days skiing Ragged, and videos of snow angels in the backyard sent over satellites and across oceans because a certain sister missed the snow.

I love the relationship that my brother and I have – and I can’t wait to figure out this strange situation I put us in by moving across the world but I still have hopes of long summers in New England on the lake and winters skiing with the whole family (Rami too) at the Farm, and I can’t wait until we can pull our lives a little bit closer together again, because I miss my brudder. Even if he always eats all the salsa in the house and still stomps around the house like an elephant.

Love you Ned! Happy Birthday!