Today marks the birthday of my older brother, Sweetums. Sweetums received his nickname from my Super Sarcastic Sister while he was in college. In a conversation with one my brother Vincenzo and my cousin Big Leo, who were contemplating skipping out on a high school pep rally the day before Thanksgiving, my mother told them, "Well, your (ELDEST BROTHER/COUSIN) would never do that."
My sister responded, "He's such a perfect little Sweetums, Sweetums would never skip out on a school function."
No sooner did these words leave her mouth when in walked the young man in question. My mother, surprised, exclaimed, "I thought you were coming home tomorrow."
My brother responded, "I was offered a ride home, so I bagged a couple of classes so I didn't have to take the bus."
My sister acidly retorted, "Sweetums would never skip class!"
Sure, the nickname was bestowed on him sarcastically, but this didn't last too long. After some thought, and consultation among ourselves, we came to the conclusion- yes, he is a perfect Sweetums, no joke. Sweetums, as the eldest, set precedents, and he was a tough act to follow. He set the tone, and we endeavored to meet the high standards he embodied. There was never any real rivalry among us, but we internalized the same values, and I'd like to think we've all been successful human beings.
Sweetums and his family have been living in Switzerland for just about sixteen years. I called him quickly at 4AM Eastern Standard Time, while working the graveyard shift, and set up a Zoom conference. I got to say hello to the kids, and commiserate with Sweetums about this crap year. Things are going better in Switzerland than they are here in the 'States, but that's not a high bar to clear. Of course, Christmas is going to be yet another washout, which is a super-bummer because I happen to love Weihnachtsmarkten. In the Before Times, Sweetums had floated the idea of a big family reunion in the 'States as a summer plan, but that was rendered impossible... I sincerely hope that the world returns to normal so we can make this thing happen. That's not too much to ask for a birthday wish