Thursday, September 2, 2010

Happy 45th Birthday, Tommy!


My brother Tommy would have been 45 today, had he lived.  This is a repost from last year - today my family and I are busy planning the Tommy Bowden Memorial Golf Outing, so that his memory and love live on!


Tommy, 1965


Today, September 2, is my little brother's birthday. His name is Tommy, and he was born 16 months after me, in September 1965. While I would be lying if I said I remember the very day, I do remember the time. I remember being very excited about a new baby, and many family photos taken during his first year show me as a blur, leaning over to kiss my little brother.

My dad's name is also Tom, so we called my little brother Tommy Too (yes, its a poor pun on Thomas II). I still have a card from my second birthday in May, 1966 signed "Love, Tommy Too". I loved being a big sister - I even gave up my bottle for Tommy one day when he was crying and mom was on a call from Canada :)

We played together, and we were joined in complete solidarity. When our next sibling came along, my father was foolish enough to give us a choice of gender. We requested a girl. We received a boy. We told daddy to exchange it.

Obviously he said no, and we didn't speak to him for 3 days. Rest assured, we loved Paul just as he was. When mom and dad were expecting the last baby, in 1973, dad had learned his lesson. We didn't get to choose and we adored "our" little Jimmy :)

Years went by, we went to school. We walked to school together almost every day - it was our time to talk things over before our very disparate social lives took us in different directions. These walks were where we discussed things, like the best jeans (Levis - designer jeans are stupid), how much aftershave should be applied so that a girl's eyes didn't water ( a dab, not half a bottle at once), and how much he loved the Hall & Oates cover of "You've lost that loving feeling".

We certainly had spats, and times when we didn't get along - we were teens, not saints! But all in all, we had a special bond, and we appreciated it quietly.

I remember all of these times so fondly today. Today, Tommy would have turned 44 years old. I miss him today as much as I missed him eight years ago. I miss the baby I would kiss and try to carry. I miss the mischievous toddler who climbed into the coal bin with me (against parental orders). I miss the teenager who would snap "stop calling me your little brother, I'm taller than you! Its embarrassing!" I miss the man who helped me to raise my son, who told my son he would always be there for him. I miss the man who loved his wife and daughters so joyfully and tenderly.

My faith tells me to dry my tears, that I will see my brother again, just not in this mortal life. And so I pray for my soul and his, and I send him this wish:

Happy birthday, Tommy Too!