It's a beautiful fall day in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It's my 20th birthday weekend, my mom is visiting, but something is missing. I know very well what it is, my brother. He has graduated from UMich and moved onto the "Real World," work. He loves it, by the way, and I'm so happy for him and proud as well.
It is not uncommon to find siblings both going to Michigan. My roommate and I both had brothers here for the last two years. One acceptance letter and Michigan seems to instantly become a family thing with everyone clad in MDen apparel. I had no intentions on going here, as I thought smaller schools were more my thing. Now I could not imagine myself anywhere else. I miss my big brother as well as my "brothers by association," which are his fraternity brothers/housemates. Sadly, my week has changed without him, especially my weekly food rituals.
The food ritual: Wednesday brunch at Frank's. It was never missed. He had to get there before me to order the corn beef hash with two eggs over easy and the cheeseburger deluxe. By the time I arrived from my early morning class, the food would have arrived, and he would have each split in half for sharing. It was always evident he just rolled out of bed and got there just in time to get the order in. I'm a little more neurotic than him about not being late for class and maximizing my study time, so making sure the food was on the table when I arrived was non-negotiable. This he seemed to understand. My anxiety? Well, he tried.
Frank's was a time to decompress and share with each other what was going on in our lives. Many texts flew between us during the week, but nothing was like telling a story in person and watching the other laugh so hard we could barely get the words out. He is the calm one between us, so he was always a voice of reason and perspective. His housemates were also on the relaxed side so sitting in their beer can-covered living room, for whatever reason, was also a calming experience in my crazy week.
The plane rides home for the holidays really brought out our love for each other. I, like my father, like to be at the airport with plenty of time to spare; actually enough time for at least a two-course meal. My brother likes to get in the taxi, with just enough time to worry that you might not make the flight, but how cool it would be if you actually made it, which he always has. Damn, how I would once like him to learn the hard way that my way is best. Chick-fil-A at the airport, another favorite food ritual, while I calmed down from wanting to kill him.
The memories are many, as I was lucky enough to share this great place and years with my big brother. One of my favorite being our ski trips just 30 minutes away! I look forward to alumni weekend together and with our kids. Looking forward to new food rituals and traditions he will share with me when I visit him in his new home very soon.