It's been a year since my last celebration with Ryan on his special joint Cinco de Maya/birthday. This year it's his 25th (quarter-life crisis time!....don't worry it only gets better from here, so I've heard.) It is also the week of my brother's birthday; he turned 20 this passed Sunday.
That's why I think it's only fitting to celebrate their many splendiferous years of living with a blog entry dedicated to two of the most important men in my life: one I know very well, and one that perhaps....I don't. You'd be surprised which one is which.
Ryan (aka Rybotz) is from Ohio, but contrary to what you might think, not nearly as boring as his birthplace. It's impossible to describe him in words. You just have to meet him to know that you're getting someone that has neon bolts of creativity bursting out of his ears. For the most part, experiencing the eclectic sounds of music fuels this phenomenon. But that's only the surface of his admiration for artful, imaginative things.
Like the rubber city of his roots, he is hard-working and reliable, but always in pursuit of a grander goal. We've been together 2 years now, and every day has been an individual struggle that we've tried to support one another through. The city has not been easy to his mid-western lifestyle: here it's fast, fleeting; blink one eye, and you miss it all. Everything in NYC is done on a larger scale; bigger/bolder/better. Luckily everything about Ryan is bigger and bolder. His excitement is catching to everyone around him, but on low days, so are feelings of anger and frustration.
Ryan left Ohio to be a part of the energy of this city, and he is surely becoming part of it. One day, he will be in sync with this flow of passion and creativity, and really show the world what fantastic possiblities lie within the infinite universe that is his mind.
And all psychological theory aside, I am grateful to be by his side on his 25th year, as he experiences the most memorable, unpredictable and thrilling moments of his life.
My brother Nick (or Nicky, which is what I've always called him) has come a long way from the little bald baby that once peed on my cousin when she was changing him. It makes you feel rather old and confused when you see the same boy you used to play Micro Machines and Barbie Prom Date with (...it's true. Don't judge. Who didn't love Barbie? Even he got upset about ending up with the nerdy guy...), doing adult things: driving a car instead of pretending to blow one up.....working at Sears instead of perfecting his homemade sound effect technique.....dying his once light, wavy hair to the color aquamarine.....complaining about getting car tickets and bank statements rather than imagining that you've saved your family from a man-eating tiger while trapped in a raging fire.
Nick was always laughing; he once had a giggling fit after watching the Simpson's episode where Homer falls down a cliff for an absurdly extended period of time, yelling "Doh" at every moment of contact. He could hardly breathe, he was laughing so hard. Then he rewound the tape and watched it again.
At the age of 4, Nick would beg me to put on the Fantasia VHS and fast-forward through all the fairy stuff to get to the dinosaurs and their eventual demise to Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring." It gave me the creeps, but it never phased him. He watched Jurassic Park for the first time at age 6, while I hid in my parent's bedroom, trying to block out the sounds of velociraptors.
He could make any inanimate object explode with unidentifiable sounds. He engrossed himself in a small 1x4 Lego block for hours, making it emit spitful explosive sounds as he shook it within his hands. Who knows what kind of intergalactic war was being staged within his imaginative mind.
But most of all, Nicky was the sweetest, most gentle kid brother a girl could ask for. While other boys were tearing the heads off their sister's dolls and generally wreaking havoc, Nicky was eager to play with anyone at any time, and loved to make people laugh. His younger sisters were the rambunctious ones, and he took a lot of abuse from their rough housing and tantrums. But that was Nicky's way; he couldn't stand to see anyone upset. He just wanted to feel he belonged.
Today, Nick is in college, but still living at home. I know it must be hard still dealing with the craziness of sisters, shitty family cars and living in a town you can't seem to escape. It's enough to make anyone a little irritated. But I hope that even at 20, little Nicky is still there at heart.