My Older Brother — My Friend


I love a cool treehouse, don’t you?  I’m sure it’s the kid in me.  To have a place where you can run away and think your thoughts…maybe share with a best friend…hurts, dreams, fears, hopes…just life…up above the world, away from the mess…for a little while.  I get nostalgic about treehouses.

I know where this comes from: the childhood memory of excitement and fear, the fun of hide-n-seek.

I don’t have an older brother, but I do have an older sister.  I was the little one who was always in her way.  I tagged along whenever I could, but she always let me know I was a pest.  I played with dolls.  She was a tomboy.  I was loud and said embarrassing things.  She was quiet and never did anything wrong.  Although we are Irish twins (look-alikes and only a year apart) we were(are) quite different.  I wanted to be like her.  She was the favorite.

When I was a kid, families had dinner parties in their homes, inviting neighbors or close friends.  We didn’t have large get togethers, but we would often see one family with three boys. 

Joey was the youngest and much too mischievous for me.  Denny was in the middle and a brainiac!  When he grew up he became a doctor.   Jimmy was the oldest and my favorite.  He knew I was little and frightened most of the time, but I could always count on him being there.  He looked out for me and I felt safe with him. 

After dinner our parents would play cards until the early morning and we would play whatever we imagined.  But the best times, the times I remember most, were spent at their house.  Awww…it was great.  You see, they had a treehouse —  a two-story with a  trap door and deck!  It was a dream.  We would go up to the treehouse to make our plans for the evening.  And often, as the twilight moved to darkness, our favorite game was hide-n-seek.

Being the littlest, and Jimmy being the oldest, I was allowed to partner with him.  He could find the best hiding places.  I don’t remember being found much.  Each time someone came near, I would get so excited it was hard to keep still.  Jimmy would put his arms around me and whisper, “Be still or they’ll hear us.”  Sometimes I’d start to talk (always the talker) and he would put his hand over my mouth, while placing a finger to his lips.  I knew I needed to “hush up” and wait. 

Occassionally, we would all go to the movies together.  And again, Jimmy looked out for me.  Through the crowds I could feel his hands on my shoulders guiding me along.  He knew my fear of the dark and was always there, holding my hand, leading me to our seats.  It was great.

He was the closest to a big brother I ever had.  I didn’t bother him like I did my sister.  I mean, I wasn’t any different.  I was still little, a talker, and scared…but that was OK when I was with Jimmy.  He didn’t care.  He just let me, be me.  That place of safety, that feeling of being cared about and understood…that’s a good place.

I miss Jimmy.

But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  ~Proverbs 18:24


20 responses »

  1. Awwwww …. I love this post.

    I don’t have a big brother either. 3 younger ones … but none older. I’ve often thought a big brother would be great. 🙂 I, too, have a big sis.

  2. Oh Michelle – you’ve brought tears to my eyes again. I don’t have a big brother; I am a big brother. I don’t think I measure up to Jimmy’s standard, but I’m very close to my brothers and sisters.

    Isn’t it beautiful how the love you get from the people around you gives you a tiny glimpse of the love that God gives us!

  3. Very nice, I had seven older sisters that looked out for me.

    Just sticking my head in Michelle… Still no power at the house, I am at work.

    Love to ya sister

  4. Michelle: I grew up with two brothers and a sister….my sister and I are very close now, but growing up, she was no fun, and a pain. LOL

    My brothers aside from locking me in the car trunk and out of the house, oh and having me jump off the roof with black plastic calling it a parachute…

    ….were great! My love for my brothers has carried over into my Christ following family…there is just something about that…i can relate to the safety and security it brings.

    Thank you for this, you made me smile first thing…Love you and have an awesome day!

  5. Thanks, Angie.

    Hey, Alan. I brought tears to your eyes…? You should have seen me while I was writing it. 😥 But yes, you understood me completely:

    “Isn’t it beautiful how the love you get from the people around you gives you a tiny glimpse of the love that God gives us!”

    Yes, it is!

    Good morning, Carl. Any idea when you’ll get your electricity back?

    Hey, Debs. I’m so glad you smiled. The safety and security of the love of other Christians…what a gift. Thanks for being such a gift. 😉

  6. that was OK when I was with Jimmy. He didn’t care. He just let me, be me. That place of safety, that feeling of being cared about and understood…that’s a good place.

    I do believe that is the very definition of friend.

    If not, well then Daniel Webster much not have had any close friends.

    Thanks for the memories Michelle.

  7. I didn’t have that kind of the faith family is still new to me…I never made a connection to that verse.. A friend that sticks closer than a brother…in my life…most people can fit that…sorry not much help on this one.. but I do love you! and I am secure that HE is close!

  8. Some memories are really nice. I’m so glad you picked out the most important “bit” to me. Thank you, Ric. 😉

    Hey, Darla. It breaks my heart when I know people who can’t point to many, if any, good memories. From what little I know about you, I see a beauty and restoration that is exquisite. God has so worked in your life for His glory, it amazes me.

    I am sorry your memories aren’t good. But I am so grateful you have been there for me, sharing your wisdom and insights. I love you much, Darla — His Princess and my friend. 🙂

  9. There’s so much in this post Michelle. Each time I read it, new details leap out at me. “He knew my fear of the dark and was always there, holding my hand…”

    Wow – no wonder you miss him. I hope you’ve been blessed with other friends like that through your life. And I hope you’ve always felt God holding your hand when you’ve needed it most.

    [Alan Brindley aka Sheep]

  10. Thank you, Alan. It’s good to put a face with a name and an alias. 😉

    You know, as I was writing this I had such a flood of thoughts and emotions. I couldn’t really think it through too much, just needed to get it out. Then after I published, well, I’ve been back again and again and…yeah…it does have lots about our Lord, the beauty of His being our brother and our friend. He has been the most faithful.

    I have been blessed with some friends. It’s good to have people who let you be yourself and help you along the path. But…yes…mostly that has been the Lord. 😉

    Thanks for your encouraging words, Alan.

  11. I loved reading this story Michelle. It was lovely to read about Jimmy’s protectiveness towards you and the way he always looked out for you. It was also lovely that he gave you acceptance, that it was OK to be just the way you were. Isn’t it great how God provided a “big brother” for you, with all those happy memories.

  12. It truly is, Birgit. He’s been faithful to provide people in my life whatever the season. Unconditional acceptance is not easily given. It’s good when you don’t have to jump through hoops for people. Do you have any brothers or sisters? Glad you liked the story — it was fun to remember. 😉

    I hope you’re well. Blessings to you!

  13. Yeah, I have two brothers who I love a lot. I just caught up with my younger brother back in NZ over the internet today. I am so thankful for siblings, particularly now as adults, with the friendships between us :).

  14. Sounds like a wonderful memory.

    It’s amazing how friendships [we] change over time. Back then, interactions were so simple, so innocent, so unconditional.

    I don’t have brothers and so a lot of my guy friends through high school/college were very protective about me. I always wanted a brother when I was younger but now that I’m older, I think I’ve been just fine with the non-biological ones. In my case [culture, religion etc] a brother may have been a little overbearing lol.

    Love you Sis 🙂

  15. Aren’t you thankful for the internet, Birgit. What a great connection when people are so far away. Blessings. 😉

    You know, Gch, I do have a little brother, but I was ten when he came along and was a bit miffed to have lost my place as the baby. But since he’s grown, I kind of like him…a little. 🙄

    Are you out there, Brother Burt!?

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