Mr. Moon said, "Yes, but odor isn't everything."
And Russell laughed.
He is the gentlest giant. He is caring and responsible and he has a wonderful sense of humor.
He loves his cat, Little Bitch. Well, her official name is Booger due to a little black spot on her pink nose. As he says, "Booger is what the vet knows her as."
When I was twelve, my brother Chuck was born. A year later, here came Russell. Irish twins, as it were. Mother was forty when Russ was born and she'd read an article in the Good Housekeeping when she was pregnant about how babies born to older women could have Down's syndrome which was just starting to be understood then.
And she feared the entire nine months that this baby would not be quite right but he was, in fact, right as rain.
And since Mother was at a rather advanced age for childbirth and taking care of babies, I took over a lot of the childcare of Chuck, and when Russell was born, Chuck's crib was moved into my room which I loved. I loved both of those babies so much. I think I was born with a very strong maternal instinct and because the period of time when they were born was such a horrible nightmare of a time with my stepfather, the babies were my salvation.
Having Chuck's crib in my room saved me from nightly visits from the man which was a miracle of sorts and then on top of that I got to love, love, love two little redheaded baby boys.
Chuck and Russell.
The only thing about leaving home at eighteen that was hard for me was knowing that I was leaving those two precious boys. Things in our house had gotten only worse. My stepfather's addiction to pain medication, his bizarre behavior, his cruel psychological abuse of his wife and sons had reached a level of horror. And I knew I had to get out and I knew I couldn't save my brothers but I so wished I could have. And they survived. But it wasn't easy.
A few years after I left for college in Denver, I was back in Florida, married and with a baby of my own and I used to babysit Chuck and Russell when their parents went on trips out of the country and god forgive me, I used to wish with all of my heart that something would happen to them, the parents, and that they would never come back and I that I could raise those boys as my own.
Well, only the good die young.
I did keep them as much as I could and they came and stayed with me on and off for years and I loved them the best I could. At one point, when they graduated from high school, they both moved to Tallahassee to attend college here and that was wonderful. Chuck stayed, got married, got a job he loves to this day and had kids. Russell eventually moved back to Winter Haven. And I have missed him so. My kids miss him too. We are trying desperately to talk him into moving back to town. We love him and in some ways, we need him. He has such a good heart and a good soul and we want him here.
I told him that I was going to write this and that I wanted to find him a wife.
I am only half kidding. The boy is shy, y'all. He is also kind and honest and strong and handsome. He works at Home Depot in kitchen design and is a sort of artist. He used to work as a jeweler and I think he loved that and misses that sort of work. He is quiet and he is thoughtful and he is funny. He is my baby brother.
I have loved watching him and Chuck together the last few days. They don't see each other very often but when they do, I can see the little boys they were together. It makes my heart so happy.
I want Russell to be a part of our lives. He is so good with children and I would love for Owen and Gibson to know him, growing up.
But mostly, I want him here for me. There is no one in this world who makes me feel as safe and protected as my brother Russell. I just know that no matter what situation I was in, he could literally and would literally carry me right out of it. He wouldn't think twice.
And now I'm going to go make him and Mr. Moon some supper. It's been a day of just being, mostly. We've been some busy and Russell and I went to the Publix and Mr. Moon took care of as much business as he could but really, we haven't done much. I watched our president's speech and I cried several times. It blew me away when he mentioned Stonewall and said what he said about our gay brothers and sisters. He is, as his wife said about him, not one to get in the door and then close it behind him. I love so much about him but that is one of the things I love the most.
I do love a man who cares about others. I am blessed to be married to one, I am blessed to be related to some. Chuck and Russell are without a doubt, two of those men and so is my brother White. And of course, my son Hank.
And it is one of the gifts of my mother's death that she gave me opportunity to spend time with these two brothers of mine in person and also on the phone with White, my other brother in Washington. Our relationship is being repaired and strengthened by the day and I wish that he, too, were here.
But this is about Russell and how much I love having him here. I feel as comfortable with him as I do with any other human on the planet. He is my blood and he is my baby brother who has grown to be a man who knows I love him and whom I know loves me. No doubt there on any level.
Here he is last August when he came up to celebrate his forty-fifth birthday with us.
Oh Russell. We want you here. You may not need us but we need you. I want to celebrate as many birthdays as we can together. It's your life and you are the one who gets to decide where you live and how you live, but dammit, I want you here.
Love...Your sister, Mary