When I was in labor with Lex, eighteen years ago, my brother Granger came to town. He picked up Mary and Jack from the elementary school and brought them to the hospital. But on the way, he stopped at a fairly shady hotel/motel. He ran into a room for just a few minutes, then got the kids some ice cream and came on up to the hospital. Yes, Granger had to take care of a little business, it was just a tiny drug deal, before coming up to the hospital. But that was Granger, brilliant, magical but undeterred by the constraints of society or the laws of the land. This picture is from that day, in the hospital.
I lost years, on and off, being mad or offended by Granger. He always said the wrong things, I thought. He told me to ask his ex-wife how to get rid of my crows feet, he showed up two hours late for Thanksgiving dinner, he showed up two days late for Christmas. He told me our family was “redneck white trash perfection”. And teased me for being uninformed because I didn’t listen to NPR. When I was ten he left me in his apartment with his dog and a loaded gun and told me not to answer the door. He fought with my mom (back then I didn’t know why, now I kinda get it).
I lost time with him because he made me mad because he didn’t act the way I thought he should. Instead he was Granger. I never doubted he loved me, but he hurt my feelings and made me furious.
Last night I was watching a twenty year old video of my daughter Mary, and his daughter Faith playing fooz-ball in our living room. They were probably eight. I heard Granger talking in the background. Just a couple of sentences but his voice was so deep and musical. He was talking about getting a tiger cub.
Hearing his voice broke my heart and made me so happy because I miss him desperately. Why didn’t I turn the camera on him for just a few seconds.
Children of mine, do not waste time, valuable and precious time being mad at each. Children of mine, don’t lose a day of love being offended by some off handed comment, oversight or ignorant stance. It’s not worth it. Just love and accept each other, as you are. Because you are all perfect in your weird, quirky, selfish, lovely way.
It’ll be a few years, I hope, before I get to see my brother, Granger, again, but I promise you, when I do see him I won’t waste a precious second of our time together.
PS If you know any publishers or literary agents…help me out. I need one. Thanks