Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Loss for Our Youngest

Our youngest son was born when his Koya was eight years old.  Koya means older brother in Kapampangan, the Filipino language (dialect) I was born to.  We made sure that as soon as Alex can speak he did not call Marcus by his first name.  We wanted to instill in both Alex and Marcus that in families there is a certain heirarchy.  The elders deserve to be called with titles of respect.  In turn the elder ones have a responsibility of always being protectors of the young.  As the boys grew older, Koya became Big Bro, to just Bro.  I think the term changed because they got tired of explaining what Koya meant.  Some people may think that the eight year gap made it a difficult adjustment for all involved.  It actually was not.  Patricia explained it so well to Marcus (although I think he did not fully understand it until much later) that Alex's needs are physical and his needs are more emotional or intellectual.  So even though Mom and Dad may seem immensely involved with the little guy, it is not because we prefer him towards Marcus, it is just the little guy cannot do it for himself.

I would like to say that Alex and Marcus got along flawlessly all of the time, but I would not be telling the truth.  They did not always get along as much as we would have wanted.  Just like normal siblings they had their share of squabbles and spats.  Alex tested Marcus' authority all the time and Marcus took advantage of it sometimes.  When Alex was a toddler he would always try to raid Koya's room of anything.  Marcus' toys were always so coveted by Alex.  Us being the lazy parents not wanting to referee all the time, we told Marcus that if Alex got into his room, because he left the door open, Alex keeps whatever he stole from Koya's room.  Even this simple room never went smoothly.  Imagine a house so quiet and peaceful, interrupted by Marcus yelling, "ALEX PUT THAT BACK!"  Followed by a shriek by a toddler as if his toenails were being plucked by a pair of pliers.  This happen so often for a while that Alex's first reaction to Marcus was a shriek.  This did not change until Patricia finally convinced Marcus that he, the nine year old, can outsmart a toddler anyday.  There was never a need to grab things from the little guy, just distract him or trade him with a thing you do not even want.  Did this work all the time?  Not really, although it did buy us some peaceful hours.  No matter what issues the two boys at home, when it came to dealing with the outside world Marcus relished the protector role.  One summer while the boys were hanging out at the community pool among their peer groups.  Apparently a couple of older boys not knowing Alex was Marcus' younger brother started picking on Alex.  Marcus saw what happened and took care of the bullies.  This was just one example of Marcus being a Koya to Alex.  This made such an impact on Alex that he felt compelled to share this at his Koya's memorial. 

One of the first things Marcus did whenever he came home from school was to kidnap (as their Mom would say) his younger brother and they would catch up on things. They would either go to a movie, go for coffee at Starbucks or go grab a bite to eat. They had favorite places they always hit, Fuddruckers, Boston Market, Genghis Grill or Central Market.  These bro-to-bro get-togethers would either go so smoothly that they will be attached at the hip the whole visit or converesely where the two brothers will be almost avoiding each other the whole visit home.  I was never privy to their conversations but I do know that one of the last ones involved Alex moving in with Marcus once he had his own place.  I can alomost picture that conversation where lil' bro complains to big bro how their parental units are just insufferable.  Of course Marcus wanting to make it easy for his Lil' Bro offered to have him move in with him.

So now our youngest lost his protector, future guardian and BS partner because of the accident.

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