... though perhaps he has less foresight.
Yes, this post is about the young man who has been a part of my life for 28 years (his birthday was Thursday, so... 28 years and 2 days). And I would like to preface all that mocking that I am about to do by saying that on my list of my favourite people on earth, he is currently tied for #2. (Tied with our sister, of course... I couldn't possibly choose between them, except for when I am annoyed with one or the other (usually our sister), in which case the other one temporarily gets the #2 spot all to himself.) Also, I can rest safely in the knowledge that he never reads my blog, so I can pretty much type whatever I like with impunity. Hee! That'll teach him.
So, I called him yesterday evening to chat for a few minutes. Now, "chatting" with my brother is not as easy as it was, oh, 20 years ago. Like every other teenage boy I've ever known, he started speaking in grunts at age 12. Unlike some men, though, he has never grown out of it. (Genetics are not on his side here... it's not entirely his own fault that he has forgotten what a sentence is.)
This is the great part. My brother's girlfriend has two children, so he has pretty much taken on the role of the father figure for them. In the course of our conversation, he said, "Go clean your room!" I kind of snickered and asked, "Who are you talking to?" It was his girlfriend's son, who was finding every excuse there is to avoid cleaning said room. A few moments later, my brother said, "Do you want to be grounded? Then don't come out of your room again until it is clean."
If I had been driving, I would have crashed the car at this point. As it was, I nearly laughed myself silly, to the point that Chad was all, "What? What's going on?" Billy naturally wanted to know what I was laughing at, so I asked him, "Did you really just tell a kid to clean his room?" So Billy was all, "Yeah," in the, "What's your point?" tone of voice. So I asked, "Who is going to make you clean your room?"
Now, let me just spell out my point for you here... from birth until he went to college, my brother never cleaned his room. Never. He kept a path clear from the door to his bed, and that's it. Occasionally I would be ordered to "help" him clean it, in a "He's too little to clean his room by himself" kind of way. (He remained "too little" until long after he was taller than me. Not kidding. Also, for those non-eldest children out there, "help" means "do it for him".) As far as I know, his room at home still has a path from the door to his bed. At least, that is what he indicated when he said he just intends to torch his own room and start over.
I am happy to say that my brother kept his room at college very clean, because they had inspections and he got all kinds of cool stuff for having the cleanest dorm. By "cool stuff", I mean cookies and pizza coupons. That's all my parents would have had to do to get him to clean up his act; offer him fast food in exchange for finding his floor. I bet they wished they had known that about 16 years earlier.
Anyway, what have I learned from this whole (highly amusing) incident? Never parent my children (or anyone else's) while on the phone with one of my siblings.