while i was brainstorming charlie stories, i realized how difficult it is for me to come up with a lot of specific charlie-esque stories. i’m eight years older than him, so the dynamics between us is completely different than it is between me and my sisters or even between my sisters and him. i would have oodles of liz stories from when she was younger, and i’m sure jane could just rattle off a list of great stories about charlie (or not so great, since they seemed to be at each other’s throats for much of their childhoods). but that eight-year gap is a long time, especially when i’m 18 and he’s 10. i’m in college, and cha’s still hanging out in 5th grade? i missed half his growing up by not being in the same house as he was.
generally speaking, i was a pain to liz growing up (i stole her whistle), jane and liz had some space issues when they were younger, and charlie and jane, being one year apart, were a whole different story. but for the most part, charlie and i were pretty chill toward each other and got along 99% of the time.
except…much of his childhood i remember him being a little poophead most of the time. he’d wile his way into places that he shouldn’t have been or knew that someone else wanted to be. every saturday, my aunt colettie would take us to todd park in austin by way of the bushaw bakery, and it was absolutely inevitable that charlie would somehow worm his way into that middle seat next to her. we all loved colettie and wanted to sit next to her, but he was her favorite and there was no way she could say no to him. even after we three girls just seethed and objected at his behavior, nope, colettie just told us to shush, let her drive in peace, charlie could be there.
what a little putz.
over the past couple days, after coworkers and friends who don’t know charlie have checked out the caringbridge site, i have gotten more than one remark of, “he looks just like you.” we got that when we were young, too. (we also have the same looking toes.) we like a lot of the same stuff, but we’re fundamentally different, too. he’s extremely extroverted and outgoing while i’m introverted and quiet. jane’s introverted but outgoing, and liz is right down the middle-ish. he was always talking when he was little, whether it was while playing with matchbox cars, singing to himself while doing the dishes, chattering along on the way out the door.
and he was still that way while living with me for the last year! i’m a pretty quiet person who keeps a pretty quiet house. occasionally there will be outbursts of cat-related talk by either nate or me, but generally we’re quiet people. when i go home for holidays, i have to prepare myself for the chaos (and nate stays home a lot of the time).
but charlie walked in the door a year ago, and suddenly it was chat central: how his work went, what he’s doing this weekend, should he go back to school, can pitt come over, maybe he’ll go biking, how he needs to get some better hair conditioner. after nine years of living like a cloistered couple, suddenly nate and i had to make conversation with someone other than the cats (and ourselves – we do talk, people!). and, weirdly enough, i was ok with it.
well, this turned out to be less of a story and more of a weird mess of stuff.
but we’ve got some time left.