Something happened 20 years ago today that changed our family. No, we didn’t win the lottery or make a trip to the moon. This was the day my mom was in the hospital having her 8th and last baby. Yes, my little baby brother, Ezekiel John, is now 20 years old. He told me his birthday wish is to forget the last 20 years, but I plan on remembering some of it for him, so here goes.
Zeke (as we have called him ever since I can remember) was born 2 days before my 11th birthday. (Uh oh, now you know how old I’m turning.) Actually, my first memory of him is that I named him. Yes, I had a dream shortly before he was born that this old man came and said his name was Ezekiel and that he was the baby. How’s that for weird? Well, my mom went for it and named the baby after the dream, though she debated whether Ezekiel should be the first or middle name. I’m happy it was the first as John is waaaay to common.
Let’s see what I remember about when he was a baby. I had to take care of him a lot, I remember that. He had measles at 11 months old and was in the hospital for a while but made it through.
He hated potty training. I have a picture of him on the potty, smiling through his tears. (Zeke, you can be happy I don’t have a scanner or all those old pics I have of you would be here.)
Once Zeke was old enough to talk, he didn’t quit. (I think all of us owe you an apology for shushing you each morning before you started talking. Josh, Steve, Anaik, back me up here.) I guess we all liked being quiet in the morning and he loved to talk, so we would shush him before he even started and he would get mad at us. He had a knack for starting a conversation right where he left off, even if it was a few days later, and you would have to stop and think about what he was talking about.
I remember his 5th birthday well because I made a cake for him, not just any cake, but a large train. I used loaf pans for the cars, frosted them, and added chocolate covered nuts for the coal. Since I also made a big cake for my own birthday 2 days later, we were eating cake for days after that.
After that I moved somewhere else for a time and wasn’t living with him much, actually until he was 10. Then my mom wanted me to take over his schooling (we were all home schooled). So I was his teacher for grades 5 and 6 for sure. Did I also do grade 7 with you? I can’t remember. I made sure he did everything the books said, and he wasn’t too happy about that. He hated writing especially. If the book called for a sentence answer, he would make it as short as possible. One thing we did together was work on research for a Canadian province. He had to find all sorts of information about it, along with pictures. At the time I wasn’t too internet savvy so we used Encarta and library books for our research, and we printed color pictures from Encarta, probably draining all the colored ink from the printer. But it was a fun project.
His 12th birthday is also a memory for me because he and I were the only ones there. My mom and the others in the house were gone for a month to the US and we stayed in our house in Mexico, and both had our birthdays while everyone was gone. I told him that since he was now older I would get him a movie that he hadn’t previously been allowed to watch. Since he liked sci-fi’s, I got “Independence Day” for him. It scared him so bad he couldn’t finish watching it, though he decided to watch it again the next day.
And I will have to stop here as a few months later I again moved away and haven’t seen him since. I recently joined Facebook ’cause my dad wanted to show me some pics (which you haven’t posted yet, hint, hint) and I found Zeke there, so now we are in touch more.
I have also seen how his writing skills have grown. Though Zeke is technically a Taurus, he has a strong Gemini influence, having been born on the cusp. His mind is like that of a Gemini. He thinks a lot, loves to read, can write well, including poetry, but in other areas like food and movies and creature comforts, he is Taurus all the way. Got the best of both worlds.
So I hope you have a happy birthday and that you don’t forget all of the past 20 years. Just remember the fun stuff, like how you loved reading books and playing with Lego and watching Star Trek when you were finally allowed. Hopefully some day we will visit each other again. Maybe you should come for a visit here since it’s easier for one person to travel than 4, though I miss Mexican food terribly and would love to have some authentic tacos, enchiladas, re-fried beans with tortillas, nachos, tamales, and on the list goes. You will have to eat some of that for me.
And now a toast (raise your glass, whatever you happen to be drinking will do). May the next 20 years be better than the last and may you enjoy them enough to not want to forget them when you turn 40. (I’ll see what I can do about that frying pan you wanted, Zeke.)
I’ll close with a recent photo of him. Doesn’t look much different from when I last saw him, just taller. (Sorry, but I post pics of every person when it’s their birthday. You made it easy for me this year.)