Tomorrow is the big day and Brian will be 50. He’s an amazing guy and best friend to so many. It’s hard to believe we have both endured a half-century on this mortal coil and given how I feel, and I am assuming Brian feels theÂ same, we could easily go another 50. Maybe by then we will be living to 150. Â Who knows? Â So much has changed since we were little together.
I remember sitting in the living room with him on the floor after taking our baths, being allowed to stay up to watch Emergency! I remember Brian and I watching firefighters and thinking how cool it would be to grow up and be one. I remember pretending and wearing all this cobbled-together gear and imaginingÂ ourselves fighting fires together, responding on calls together, working side-by-side. For as much as we have defined ourselves by being firefighters, what is ironic is that for Dad (55 years), Brian (34 years) and I (35 years) to have been in the fire service for as long as we have, we have never once set foot on the same fireground together. Â Unless Brian and Dad had a call together (I’m not sure they ever have, as they were in different departments that didn’t run auto aid to each other), theÂ only time we actually worked together as adults was once Brian and I picked up a contract to evaluate a disaster drill together, and Dad joined just to watch us in action.
There’s a story about Brian and I that Emma just loves to think about, and that was the time when there was one piece of meat left on the dinner table and Brian and I both wanted it. Â He reached for it and I stabbed him in the hand with my fork. He was so shocked he dropped the meat and I grabbed it. I don’t remember eating it myself; I likely split it with him. I would give him anything I had, but the shock value of doing things like that sometimes was worth the potential of hitting an artery. Â We laughed about that for years.
The past few summersÂ we have been getting the kids together,Â hanging out in The ParkerÂ Palace in Ocean City, MD, taking a day trip to Chincoteague, just spending time relaxing. Â Two years ago Brian and I decided to head out early in the morning on the kayaks to an island we could see out in the sound. Â He and I paddled out there and just spent some time looking around, drinking our coffee, talking, and paddling back. I remember thinking then how unusually natural we always seemed together, like we just picked up where we left off the last time we were together. I don’t know if everyone has that kind of a relationship with their sibling, but I can say it is very special. We laugh at the same things and in the same way, but differently too. We look at things the same way, but differently too. We are definitely different people, but the same.
I’m fortunate to have such an incredible person to call my brother. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him. I look up to him. I love talking to him. And we share so much sometimes, just in a smirk we give each other at the same time, or both of us rolling our eyes at something we hear or see.Â I think how fortunate my kids are to have such a loving uncle and I only wish they could spend more time with him so they could know him like I do. Â I’ll leave you with this, the Prayer of St. Patrick:
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.
I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.
Christ shield me today
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.
God bless you on your birthday, Brian Patrick. Who would have ever thought we’d see this day? Here’s to you, and to many, many, many more. You are the best brother or uncle anyone could ever ask for. Â Happy birthday. We love you.
Mick, Emma, Caroline and Honora