I’ve written several posts in the past about my hermanito. I want to share a bit more about him.
This summer, I surprised him by showing up in Mexico City. My first full day here, he excitedly pulled on an adult’s sleeve and pointed me out. I’m not sure who was happier, him or me! He’s in that pre-teen boy stage right now, so at first he pretended to be too cool for me. But that was okay. I just talked to him anyway. By the end of that day, he was grinning madly and giving me hugs.
Just yesterday I got to spend more time with him. The interns went for the afternoon to visit the house he lives in. After stopping to pick up some food at the Bodega (a Walmart equivalent), we headed home with them. There, the house mom made us pizza and pasta. Once it was ready, I took a seat at the table, trying not to compel my hermanito to sit with me.
Here he came, his younger brother on his heels. They sat down, my hermanito in the middle. Then we joined hands with the rest of the house as one of the boys blessed the food. Then came the rush for plates. My hermanito, already growing up, grabbed one of the nicest plates for me and walked over to the house mom to fill both his own plate and mine. He is learning to serve. Granted, he didn’t serve either other intern, but he’ll get there. When he went for seconds, the house mom reminded him to ask all the interns, not just me, if we wanted more. He’s being taught well.
Then I enjoyed a wonderful meal next to my hermanito. He joked with his brother, told me what he wants to do when he grows up, and sometimes just sat quietly next to me. Neither of us could stop smiling.
I don’t know if he knows how proud I am of him. I try to tell him as often as I can, but he’s nearly a teenager, and he can use all the reminding he can get. It is a joy for me to just sit next to him, to give him a hug, to see his smile. I love the sound of his voice, the mixture of English and Spanish, the light in his eyes. He’s not perfect. He’s still learning. Some days it’s hard for him to care about school. Some days he tries far too hard to be cool. But every moment is a blessing. Every moment is another that I have a little brother who means the world to me.
Sometimes I think about when he’s done with school, when he’s got a career and is out on his own. Sometimes I think about what it will be like for him to get married, to start a family, to be all grown up. It’s strange for me to think about the pre-teen boy as a man, but from what I hear from every parent I know, kids grow up fast. My hermanito is no different. The years are going to fly by. He’s going to be in college before I realize I’ve finished! Okay, maybe not, but I’m aware that he’s growing up. And I am so grateful to the house parents who have sacrificed and poured into his life, always teaching him life and joy and goodness. He’s a smart young man still trying to figure life out. His house parents have guided him these past few years, and I trust they will continue to guide him. I cannot express my gratitude enough for the couple that is raising my little brother, his little brother, and the rest of the boys in that home. They mean so much to me, and all I can offer them is my gratitude barely expressed in my second language. I wish I could explain to them how much they have impacted me by taking care of my hermanito.