Bryan’s best friend was born on June 10, 1984. She has been and continues to be the most influential person in Bryan’s life.
Bryan was a very caring big brother from the get-go. He and baby sister would roll around on the colorful patchwork quilt on the floor together, Bryan imitating Amy’s every move – sometimes playing with her baby toys more than she. He’d crawl up into the crib and sit with her at bedtime, winding up her mobile and musical stuffed animals to sing her to sleep.
As young children, the two of them would cuddle together, holding each other’s hands in sleep, crammed into Bryan’s single bed after a long, exhausting day of playing together.
Imaginative play was a constant around our house. As Amy grew older and her friends became more numerous, they would stop by to play. Bryan was almost always included. A favorite activity was when the girls dressed up as princesses with Bryan as Prince Charming. I was in charge of the soundtrack. They would waltz together in the living room to Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty” once rescued from the fire-breathing dragon by the Prince in his plastic silver armor.
And then, when Amy reached age seven or eight, Bryan became “uncool”. His silliness around her friends made Amy embarrassed. She was beginning to realize just how different her brother was from the siblings of her friends. Amy wasn’t sure how to handle it. I became very creative at doing things with Bryan while her friends were over – engaging him elsewhere to give Amy some space.
Once puberty reared its ugly head, Amy’s teen angst took over and she would beg us to keep Bryan away from the ever-increasing number of friends who came to our door to “hang out” with her. It was hard for Bryan to understand that his best friend now wanted no parts of him. Many of Amy’s buddies who came over had befriended Bryan years before and he couldn’t understand why all of a sudden he wasn’t allowed to be with them. Bryan was starting to develop crushes on many of Amy’s kindest friends. Slowly, but surely, he began to make inappropriate remarks to them which sounded more like romantic overtures than mere friend-speech.
Even though we nipped it in the bud during adolescence, some of these crushes have continued even until today, dimmed slightly by the passage of time and the knowledge that Amy’s friends have moved on, married and started families.
A real blessing of his maturation is that now Bryan has a wonderful brother-in-law to care for him as well as his sister. The family circle is widening. And Amy, his Best Friend Forever, still is always mindful of her brother. She and her husband include Bryan in exciting field trips, going out to dinner and watching the Eagles together. We enjoy each other’s company on holidays and on vacations.
Growing up, Amy has taught Bryan right from wrong. She has shown him what is appropriate and what is not. She has helped him become more independent, stressing that he “use his words” to ask for what he wants in life. There has always been unconditional acceptance even during those trying teen years. And, along the way, she has shaped him like no other. Isn’t that what best friends do?