My baby brother is super cool.
But it's a sophisticated cool where you don't say super. I believe it's uber. Which, of course, is even more super cool.
He lives in an apartment in San Francisco, where Woody Allen has shot scenes for one of his movies. Not necessarily being a Woody Allen fan, I kinda feel "eh" about it, but I know that if I WAS a Woody Allen fan, this would raise my brother even higher on the coolness ladder. He creates and bakes food that doesn't require ketchup and that he buys at a real-live farmer's market. I'm not sure that I even knew those foods existed.
And even though he ran away from Arizona as soon as he could (and really, with our summers, I wish I could have run away alongside him), he still comes back at Christmas, which is pretty darn nice of him.
The coolest thing, though, is that he travels. A lot.
And I almost hate him for it. He throws around locations like Machu Picchu and Sardinia and Seville. You know, just the normal run of the mill places to spend your summer vacation. And then he asks me, "So what are you guys up to?"
I start my list of accomplishments and/or near misses (such as trying to train already-three-year-old Jack how to use the potty. oh my stars, it was ugly and it lasted for 48 hours) and it seems flat and bland and absolutely nothing that he can relate to.
I'm deflated, discouraged and embarrassed, y'know?
My street does not have Woody Allen filming any movie scenes (and just between us, I'm really okay with that), the seven of us are not flying to Europe, South America, Mexico or Canada, probably ever and there is practically no food prepared here that does not have ketchup, Ranch or store-bought French bread somewhere in it or at least slapped on the table alongside.
My end of the phone calls are filled with lost baby teeth and finished school projects and church classes and a leaky roof.
But someday, I pray his end is filled with the same thing. Let's face it, it would be pretty nice for him to finally get how all-consuming it is to be in the thick of child-rearing, but also because there is no better life.
If I had my pick of lives, I would choose this one every single time. When I'm taking my last breaths, I want my children around me, loving on me, praying for me, being at least a little bit sad. (okay, a lot sad) Experiences are grand and lovely, and I pray and hope I get to have a boat load more of them, but these people are my life. And experiences wouldn't be around my bedside grieving for me when I'm gone.
So, I'll happily take this life of road trips and diapers (still) and stretch marks and band-aids and singing classical show tunes at the top of our lungs as we dance around the kitchen.
And when he comes to visit and rests in my shabby chic guest room (which will not compute with his contemporary soul), he'll hear the singing and bickering (heaven help us) and eat the non-gourmet food and remember what it is like to live in suburbia where the Disney channel is turned on and laundry is done.
And maybe, just maybe, he'll want it for himself (well, sans the bickering) and he'll think that our lives are uber-cool.
Even without Woody Allen.