Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-changes: My little brother's growing up!

So a few people have requested an update... I've been wanting to write for a few weeks now, but life has been crazy. A little over two weeks ago, my mom fainted one morning and was rushed to the ER. Turned out she just passed out because she had a vasovagal attack, where your blood doesn't get to the brain fast enough and you pass out. She was in the hospital for two days and they let her go.

On Thursday she was taken to the ER again because she was shaking and lethargic. They found out yesterday her port, which was installed so she could easily get chemotherapy, was infected. She also has a urinary infection, and there is bacteria in her blood. So the docs are pumping her with antibiotics until the infection's gone. They removed the port. She's expected to go home in a few days.

Needless to say, all of this has been very stressful on my family. I really deal with things differently every day. Some days I have a lot of hope and trust that the doctors and God will do all they can to help my mom. Other days I don't feel so confident about things. I try not to have a "woe is me" attitude, but it's hard sometimes. I don't think there is anything worse in the world than seeing the one person you love more than anybody in the hospital. I spent the whole day with her yesterday, and it was definitely a role reversal. I held her hand when the doctors and nurses poked and prodded her... something she used to do for me. It's all so surreal... sometimes I just pause and think, "This can't possibly be my life... this isn't happening to my mom, this isn't my family." But the truth is, no family, no person, is infallible to cancer.

But anyway.... throughout everything, my little brother Brandon always keeps us laughing. Those of you who don't know my brother are missing out... he's a real treat! (This picture is kind of old, but it's one of my favorites... I have it at my cube at work. He's 7 and picking the nose of a warthog statue at the Philadelphia Zoo. Priceless). He's always been quite the entertainer. He loves to crack horrible jokes, and when he was younger he used to treat my friends with renditions of pop songs. A few weeks ago, he gave me a 5-minute lecture on why it's better to be born a vampire than be turned into a vampire via being bitten. I paid attention for about 30 seconds.

Now he's a 13-year-old Guitar Hero-playing, Japanese-anime watching 8th grader... who just recently found out Santa Claus isn't real (Emily was the unfortunate bearer of bad news... but we couldn't have him going into 8th grade still believing... that's just setting him up to get stuffed into a locker). Despite him getting older, he hasn't gone through that "my older sisters are lame" phase yet. Every time I come home to visit, he greets me with a big hug. Last weekend he told me Emily and I are his role models. I absolutely adore him.

But lately I realized he's not a little boy anymore. This is hard for me to accept, because we have a 10-year age difference and I was always his second mom. I changed his diapers and watched Barney with him... I can remember him pretty well as a little boy. But now he's as tall as me (I've always known that, despite being the oldest, I would one day be the shortest Koehler kid). He also has a little peach fuzz growing above his upper lip. The boy who used to say "oy!!!" every time he heard a bad word from someone, or even on a movie or TV, is now cursing in front of me. Where does time go?

Recently he has become somewhat of a babe magnet... which is the hardest bit for me to comprehend. His biggest admirer is our new next-door neighbor Nancy, who is going into 6th grade. They hang out in our backyards and go in the pool. She calls him a lot.

Last weekend Emily told me that Nancy called one day. Brandon had left his cell phone in another room, so Emily ran to give it to him before it stopped ringing. He ignored her call. When Em told me that, I got upset. My brother will not be a douchebag to girls, I thought.

So the next time I saw him, we had a little talk. I told him to be upfront with girls about his feelings, and that it's horrible to blow them off. He listened to everything I said and assured me he had called Nancy back. I asked him if he liked liked her, and he said no... he only likes her as a friend.

Me: "Well, have you told her that?"

Brandon: "Yeah... twice! But she doesn't get it. She keeps asking me if I like her as a girlfriend."

Me: "Well, do you think you might start to like like her down the road?"

Brandon: "I don't think so. The older guy and younger girl thing never works out anyway. I mean, you've seen Saved by the Bell."

Me:"..... uh.... what are you talking about????"

Brandon: "You know... in Saved by the Bell: The College Years, Kelly likes her professor... but he ends up breaking her heart. It never works out to like an older guy."

Me: ".........."

Let this be a lesson for you, ladies.... courtesy of my 13-year-old brother and the creators of Saved by the Bell: The College Years.

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