Growing up as technically an only child, I always longed for a sibling or two. In fact, in elementary school, when my best friend, Alexis, received news that she was going to be a big sister, I admit to being jealous. My parents certainly recall the day in which I marched home from school and demanded a baby brother or sister of my own. If I recall, correctly, I think I even asked Santa Claus for a sibling…
When I first started dating my better half, RB, in 2002, I was tickled pink when I found out that he had two younger siblings. Throughout our undergraduate years together, I enjoyed hearing stories about them and the crazy things they would do. Of course, it was always rich when they turned the tables and shared stories about RB: his gross seat in the old van, his notebook full of locations to various antique tractors, family road trips, fighting over toys, sledding off the barn roof, the clothespin on the nose story, and, of course, his famous “farm.” Oh the stories!
If you know anything about the Brown clan, they are diehard Mopar fans — Aaron included. And if you know anything about the Collins clan, we are diehard General Motors fans. I recall a time in which I drove to the Thumb to visit RB and his family. When it came time for me to head home, I walked out the back door to find my little blue Sonoma missing. Because I drove a GM-product, Aaron did not want my vehicle in the driveway amongst the Mopar-products…so he moved it out to the neighboring field. Not only would he move my truck, but when I started it, the station would be switched to country and the volume VERY loud. And in the summer, he would turn my heat on full blast.
My revenge: When he was passed out, I painted his toenails a nice shade of fuchsia. (Love you, Aaron!)
My first Christmas sharing gifts with the siblings was a riot. Because I always teased Aaron and called him “stinky”, I decided it only appropriate to buy him cologne so he would smell better. He unwrapped it and I cracked my joke. Even better was when he handed me a large box with my name on it. I began unwrapping…and unwrapping…and unwrapping. It was a box, inside a box, inside another box, and inside yet another box which finally yielded my gift from him. Definitely a good laugh.
In 2005, RB and I fell in love with an old brick farmhouse in Watertown Township. We made an appointment with the realtor for a complete walk-through and, of course, Aaron came with us to check it out. Becoming a home owner was such an exciting experience, yet curiously stressful at the same time (mortgage, home improvement, home improvement loan, etc). I recall Aaron walking through the house throwing ideas left and right, “I like this!” or, “You guys should build a deck off the back porch. It would be perfect for drinking beer.” When it came time to make the move, he was the first person to push up his sleeves to help us…as long as we had cold beer in the fridge for him. Preferably Coors Light.
RB and I miss him everyday. We keep his memory alive by recounting stories and jokes. I am incredibly thankful that I got to meet Aaron and call him my brother.