Michael Joseph McShane. The name has been my guiding light through my childhood, and it's important you know who he is. If it wasn't for him, I guarantee you I wouldn't be writing this.
And I side note: I will be writing something about each of my siblings this year. I had eight. They live within me. Given the day, I can sound and behave like any one of them. Writing about any of them is a risk, but one worth taking. When I wrote about my Dad last year, my brothers didn't speak to me for a while. And when I started to write about my late sister Marie earlier this month I started to cry really hard. Couldn't hit the keys.
Then there's Mike. He was almost seven years old when I was born. And I can never remember a day that I didn't have him somewhere in my vicinity throughout my entire childhood. Mike carted me around. Taught me how to throw, catch, ride a bike, and played with me after he came home from school.
Think of this disparity. When you see two children seven years apart, they barely look at one another. When I was four, he was eleven. Yet he spent so much time with me. We listened to Blackhawk games on the radio together on Sunday nights. We collected baseball cards. We watched the Cubs and Bears stink. He introduced me to the magnificence of Motown. He came home from college one summer he said, "Girls like guys that play the guitar. You might want to learn that thing." So I learned because, well, he said so.
We are more different as two people could be. I studied Social Work, worked in the field and became a Psychotherapist and now a Life Coach. Mike studied Criminology, joined the Dade County Sheriff's Department, and was a Federal Marshall most recently featured on Showtime Documentary about "The Odessa Project." In this production one of the members of a very dangerous crime syndicate called Mike, "a real prick." I have never been more proud of my brother. Not that he was never a "real prick" with me, but that's another essay.
I hope this indulgence is accepted in the spirit it is written. Thank you for reading this far down the page. Mike is an exceptionally kind, intelligent, strong and compassionate human being, who happens to be my brother, and he's a year older today. I hope to have him around for a really long time. And I thought it was important that you know who he is and, that without him, this essay wouldn't have been written.
Happy Birthday to my Big Brother Mike. May you all have somebody in your life as wonderful.