Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Three Whole Hands

Not only is it Rosh Chodesh Adar, but it is also my little brother Mavis's English birthday. These two are inherently related because Mavis has always been a rather Adar/Purimish sort of person. In fact, his Hebrew birthday is Purim. He's always been very happy, a bit of a troublemaker, and certainly in the business of making people laugh. One of my mother's favorite stories about him was when my parents took him to meet the principal of his new school for kindergarten. The principal, who already knew Straight Man as, well, a yashar sort of kid, smiled over his desk at little Mavis and said, "how old are you? Five?"
Mavis shook his head.
"No?" The principal asked. "How old are you then?"
Mavis looked up at the rabbi before him, raised up his palm - fingers spread out - and said, "I'm a whole hand."
The principal looked at my mother and said, "He's not like Straight Man, is he."
It wasn't a question.

Mavis is certainly his own breed, but we all love him for it.

He's the only sibling I really remember visiting in the hospital as a baby. I remember visiting my sister Trademark vaguely, but I remember the white powdered doughnuts Straight Man and I got to eat more than I remember actually seeing my baby sister (I actually don't remember her at all - only the doughnuts). What I remember most about visiting Mavis as a baby was how much he looked like a bobblehead doll. Straight Man, who was nearly five at the time, then proceeded to go to school and tell everyone that he had a new baby brother named Achashverosh.

It was a strange purim that year. My brother, sister, and I woke up to a house with no parents (at least, the way I remember it). Somehow we knew what had happened before we were told. I remember Straight Man and I stumbling down the stairs to our babysitter and asking in rushed, excited voices, "did they go to the hospital? Huh? Did they?" I remember exactly the blue of the stairs and the emptiness in the house that wasn't quite emptiness. It was more like hugeness. The sun was shining brightly through the window and there was snow. Lots and lots of snow. Then we got hoisted off to friends and stood around awkwardly unsure what to do with ourselves in all the excitement. At some point our father came back and someone read megillah to him in a bedroom.

(By the way Ima, I'm sorry if I got any of that badly wrong. That's how my mind tells me it went)

Two years ago, it was my brother's bar mitzvah and instead of doing the parsha on shabbos, he lained megillah on the day of his actual birthday. Then we had a costume party and it was exceedingly cool. For this year, my brother has already started practicing to lain again (he did it last year, too), so when you start hearing that in my house, you know Purim's only 'round the corner.

Anyway, happy birthday Mavis (who is now three whole hands!) and chodesh tov to all my readers! :D


Chana said...

This is beautiful!

RaggedyMom said...

I found this through your post today. And I think that as a mom, I can say that it needs a tissue warning! Really makes me think of what my kids make of all of this growing up and life business.

Thanks for continually letting me see life through different stages and lenses.

And have a great trip! Chag sameach!