Amanda Barber

Stories, songs, and thoughts on life.

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Justin and Mom

08 May 2014

This week, my brother celebrates his twenty-sixth birthday. Plus Mother’s Day is coming up shortly after. So, I thought I’d cover them both in one handy blog post.

Come to think about it, Mom and Justin are the two people I spent the most time with as I grew up. My two older siblings were off to college and then married when I was still pretty young, and my Dad was gone teaching most of the week. So, it was just me, Mom and Justin at home together. Poor Mom. She worked hard homeschooling the two of us. “Stop day dreaming.” “Be diligent.” “Whining and crying will not help you understand math.” I often wondered why she stared off into space at lunch time while Justin and I cut up. Not anymore. I’m pretty sure she was taking a mental break.

Mom was also the one who anathematized sugar in her household, much to my chagrin. Sugar…and processed foods…and ramen noodles…and pop…and all kinds of stuff my childish heart craved. Oh, I would get so frustrated! All of my friends were eating that stuff. What was the big deal? In spite of our protests, Mom fed us lots of beans, rice, salads and whole grain, whole wheat, homemade bread. She made us take chewable vitamins and dosed us up with vitamin C and garlic and tried to get us to drink nutritional yeast in water, put Bragg’s amino acids on our salads, and take spoonfuls of wheat grass juice. Blech. That last item never went over very well. Boy, we had it rough. Justin and I decried health food. Yet, if you peered into our adulthood cupboards now, what do you think you’d find? Well, you’d find lots of garlic, vitamin C, Bragg’s amino acids, lots of beans and rice, and lots of veggies in the refrigerator. Mom, you done good. We’ve come full circle. (Although I still won’t take wheat grass juice.)

Justin, who used to be my annoying little brother. He is still my little brother, but all grown up and quite responsible. We used to fight and clobber each other over the head with blunt objects and then fiercely defend one another from little friends who attempted to do the same. As we grew up, we stopped clobbering each other and began working together. Truth be told, Justin is the one I hold responsible for turning me into a published author. (I leave it up to you to decide whether he should be blamed or commended for this.) Where I would hide away with my pen and paper, Justin would charge boldly in holding up my writing for all to see. “Hey, my sister wrote this. Pretty good, huh?” Justin has and probably always will have an uncanny ability to incite all of his friends to creativity. “Write me a script,” he said. So I did. “Write me another one,” he said. So I am. With the each confident command, I get the silly notion that I actually can write a script. And in spite of myself, I do.

So, to Mom and Justin, thank you for all that you have meant in my life. Thank you for loving me the way family should. Thank you for putting up with my faults and foibles. Thank you for your criticisms and encouragements. (You’re not always right, but thanks anyway.) I love you both.

Happy Birthday, Justin! Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!