When I was in 5th grade, my brother was in 8th grade and we went to the same school. We also rode the same bus. One day, I came home alone. I had gone to school with him but he did not take the bus home. As I walked to my house, I simply figured that he must have gone home sick earlier in the day. When I walked in the door, my Dad walked into the dining room to greet me and asked, “Where is your brother?” I believe my response was something to the effect of, “I thought he was here.” My Dad immediately got on the phone (the house phone, remember what that is?) calling everyone he could. When he called the school, he yelled at them – they didn’t know where he was either.
I unpacked my book bag and got to work on my homework while my Dad paced the house and yelled at people on the phone. Within 30 minutes, my brother walked in the door. My Dad, in his caring, in-your-face yelling love, asked where he was.
Now, if you have a sibling, even one that you get along with, every so often when he or she is the one getting in trouble, you kind of enjoy watching the scene unfold. You have an expectation that it’s going to get loud, someone is going to get grounded and it won’t be you.
So, where was he? Quote, “I got in a fight.” Dad asked, “Where?” My brother calmly replied, “Across the street from the school, at the Catholic church.” My Dad’s next question, “How did you get home?” Brother’s reply, “I walked.” (Do you get the tension here – seriously – a fight, on a church yard?) My Dad’s response, “The next time you do that, tell me first.”
My response? If my jaw could unhinge like a snake, it would have been all over the floor.
Many, many years later, I brought this up with my Dad and brother. They never considered that I would be floored by this entire incident. Here’s the side of the story I did not know then. Someone at school was picking on my brother incessantly (by the way, my brother has always been big for his age. I would guess in 8th grade, he looked like a high school senior with a baby face). He had spoken to my Dad for advice and my Dad was very specific in telling him that if all else failed and he was going to get in a fight, do it outside of school and off school grounds. Oh, and bring a few friends in case he brings some. Once I told them my perspective, they got a good laugh at it. Once I heard theirs, I would have totally been one of those friends to back him up!