This is me talking to Cameron. He's my little brother. We're twenty years apart.
Today is his birthday. He's 11 years old. I am the oldest and Cameron is the youngest of eleven kids. (Ha ha! That's the second time in this post you've had to do a double take!) If you asked Cameron some questions about life growing up at our house and then asked me the same questions, the answers would probably be pretty different.
When he was little we called him Dukie. Cameron's middle name is Taylor, but a few years ago if you would have asked him what his full name was he would have answered Cameron Dukie Hall. He prefered that, except for a short stint where he insisted that we all just call him Bob. I don't remember where Dukie came from, except that now he's just called the Duke. One of my favorite conversations with Cameron is from a few years ago. It went like this:
Cameron: I just don't get it!
Cameron: I'm the fastest in my class, and the smartest, I play sports the best (he may even have added "cutest"), but I'm not the tallest!
Yes, that is the confidence born of being praised, adored and loved by 10 older siblings.
On my wedding day I was at home for a moment in between festivities and he came up to me. "I can't believe it. I just can't believe you're married," he said shaking his head.
Tuesday I was on the phone with my mom who was driving Cameron to baseball/soccer/insert- your-favorite-sport-here practice and he asked to talk to me. He wanted to know what people in New York had done to remember September 11th. He asked if I'd gone down to Ground Zero. He wanted to know if I'd seen something on TV about it the night before. It was a pretty serious conversation to have with an eleven year old. My mom got back on the phone. "That was funny." I said. What I meant was endearing, sweet (you can put in any adjective that an 11 year-old may not be too pleased with, at least on the surface).
My mom said that Cameron won't be one of those younger kids of big families who feel like his older siblings are strangers. I hope that's true. He's closer in age to my kids than to me. I could be his mom. I'm sure I act like it sometimes ("Have you done your homework? You can't play video games until your homework is done!") which I'm sure is not an aspect he's missed since I've moved across the country. But I can call him up and chat about school, sports and whatever else. We have a good time. He's a great kid. I love him dearly, and I'm glad he's my brother. Happy Birthday, Cameron!