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31 January 2009

Oh, Brother!

If someone had told me 20 years ago that my brother and I would end up being really good friends, I would have probably laughed in their face. And, I can almost guarantee that my brother would have done the same thing.

It's not that my brother and I hated each other or fought all of the time, it's just that we clashed sometimes....and I would have predicted that the clashing would have continued all the way through life.

Before my mom got back into teaching, she worked a 9-5 job and my dad was teaching and coaching. So, once my brother was old enough to handle a key around his neck, he was watching me at home after school was out. I can't remember the fights that we had, but I do remember calling Mom many a times. Sometimes, if we were smart enough to realize that our fights were stupid and petty, we would call the "Dial-a-Story" number at the local library and only pretend to call and rat each other out. We did it so often that both my brother and I can still recall the phone number.

In junior high and high school, our fights were over things like the bathroom or where we should eat out on Sunday's after church. Again, completely petty things. When he left for college, I became an "only child" at home and LOVED it. I had all of my parents' attention and couldn't have been happier...until he came home for Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or summer vacation. It was back to that whole sharing thing, and I'll admit, I wasn't very good at it.

But, that all really changed when we both were at IU together. Ryan was a senior in college and lived at the ATO fraternity. I was a freshman living across campus in a dorm. My brother would call me all the time and ask if I needed anything from the store or Target and even invited me over for lunch, dinner, and PARTIES at the fraternity. It was really funny to see how over-protective he was of me. I was friends with several of the guys in his of them even ended up being my fraternity dad...but if I was there with Ryan, I wasn't allowed to go see any of them without him escorting me to their rooms. My brother was also really involved in helping me find a sorority. He was friends with several sorority girls and hooked me up with a few of them for visits and lunches at the houses before rush came around.

One practice he started (and continued even after he left IU) was editing my papers! I could call him at 11:00 the night before a paper was due and would email it to him for his review. No matter how perfect I thought it was, it would always come back with suggestions to make it sound 10x better. (Maybe I should have sent him this blog, so he could condense it a little bit!)

When he graduated from IU and moved to Atlanta to start working for CNN, I was so incredibly proud. For any of you who know my brother, he has wanted to work in the news division (and more specifically for CNN) since he was in elementary school. He used to tape the music off of the news shows, write scripts for the two of us, make us both get dressed up, and then set up the video camera and read the scripts with the music playing in the background. He even emphasized how exactly to "shuffle" the papers when signing off.

Once my brother kept getting promoted at CNN, I started getting more and more perks! I could see him on tv sometimes...he would call us and say, "Hey, turn the tv to CNN." Then he would tell us to watch. And, about 5 seconds later, we would see him walk through the newsroom. We got to go on personalized tours and even got to be on a couple of live news shows.

And, the Christmas gifts? Well, they kept getting better and better too! My poor brother started a bad habit of giving really cool gifts, and so each year he has to try to live up to what he got me the year before! For example, when the ipods first came out , my brother jumped on the bandwagon and got me one...inscribed with my name and everything. Yes, I have a Generation 1 ipod (which is so thick and heavy compared to the newer ones)! Now, I am a music JUNKIE, but I was never much of a techie. I hadn't heard anything about some crazy ipod. But, when he explained to me what it was, I was blown away. Needless to say, that Christmas break was spent uploading the hundreds of cds I had onto my laptop!

Ryan didn't just give good gifts though, he became a really good brother. He would call just to talk to me, he listened to my problems and actually gave me advice. We stopped fighting over what restaurants to eat at (maybe because I learned it was just easier on all of us to let him eat at the Texas Roadhouse) and could actually go out for drinks together and hang out. He even came to my school in Indianapolis and gave a CNN presentation to all of our 6th graders. He brought t-shirts, pencils and all sorts of CNN swag for the kids. I had some that up until the end of the year would ask about my brother and asked if we could turn CNN on in the room to see if he was on there!

Okay, so let me get to my point. David and I got to hang out with my brother at Christmas this year in Arizona. Well, I should probably say David got to hang out with my brother. When the two of them get together, SERIOUSLY, it is like no one else is in the room. They each pull out their laptops and start talking GEEK SPEAK. Then, they switch from that and start pulling up stuff off of the internet to sort of "one-up" each other....anything from youtube clips to new gadgets hot on the market. Or, they spend hours changing our hairstyles on Ryan's Mac.

Me, with incredibly short hair. Ryan said, "Um...I don't think you should ever go this short!"

Is it me, or does my husband look A LOT like Owen Wilson in this picture?

They spent a day with my dad test driving cars together. (I can't believe they didn't want to join me and Mom for a day of baby shopping!) I honestly LOVE that they get along so well. I never would have predicted it, considering how overprotective he was of me with all of his friends in college, but it is wonderful to see them hanging out together.

When we were in Puerto Rico, my brother sent me a text message asking us to come for a visit. And, as much as we really wanted to go, we just couldn't spend the extra money on another trip. (Remember, we have a baby nearing the end of her hibernation...) As much as he enticed me with thoughts of Cheeseburger in Paradise and Buffalo Wild Wings, we just couldn't swing it. So, my brother bought us two airline tickets and is flying us out to Atlanta next weekend. David and I are so excited (and I'm pretty sure my brother is too) and it's not just for the FOOD. Although, Ryan and I did dub this trip "Eating Out, 2009." We are going to tour CNN, check out the Titanic exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium, and possibly even hit up the Cirque Du Soleil show. Oh, and we get to snuggle with Peyton too.

So, a huge THANK YOU to my brother...not just for the plane tickets and the opportunity to check out Atlanta again, but for being a wonderful friend to both me and David.


Mom Cooper said...

What a nice post. I agree you and Ryan NOW have this wonderful brother/sister bond. However,it was not always so as you said and I prayed for the day you two could be in the same room without some kind of argument between you!! God has blessed me with a wonderful family that now includes David and baby girl. I love each and every one of you very much!!

Marissa said...

What a great post Amanda! I loved hearing about all those petty fights. Hmmm, having 2 brothers myself, I can totally relate! :) Have so much fun in Atlanta this weekend.

Lauren said...

Oh Amanda I loved this post and being from a big family I DEFINITELY could think back and remember those petty fights...hmmm, some as close as the Puerto Rico trip! It is so wonderful to have siblings, someone you have the EXACT same memories with, traditions with, family ties, childhood experiences- and then to become adults and have them as your friend on top of that is just amazing. I love the friendship I have formed with my brother and sisters as we've gotten older and the different dynamic that our family has taken with so many fewer arguments going on all the time!

I'm so happy that you're going out to see him and I hope you have a wonderful time. And, I have to say this for my hubby... "Haaaaaaalaaaa!" :)