With my oldest son’s 9th birthday shortly around the corner.. (and now the panicked voice inside is screaming, “Wait, if he’s that old, how old are you?!?!) Anyways, ignoring that, with his birthday right around the corner, I thought it was a good time to share a story about why we tease his uncle (my brother who is younger than I) about the jellyfish incident of 2005.
Imagine with me if you will, my son was born in May and by July, the June gloom had ebbed away, meaning it was finally time to introduce my little man to the beach. Baby stroller, UV blocking shirts, hat, umbrella, a stockpile of diapers to last an apocalypse, and plenty of things to keep my then teenage brother occupied at the beach for some time. We were prepared for everything (as much as a newbie set of parents can be). Everything except my brother.
I don’t know if you all know this, but teenage boys are STUPID. I mean, I think even the ones who might be considered smart (as I kinda always thought my brother was reasonably smart) are just slightly less stupid than the stupid ones. (Ok, I know I might be rankling some feathers here of parents who don’t think this, but I’ve gotten a chance to witness this first hand and man, if they aren’t, then they sure do a lot of actions which are.. well.. dumb.) Anyways, back to my story.
I was laying on the blanket under the perched umbrella, enjoying a book while my little man watched the umbrella ruffling in the wind. (Ok, who am I kidding, I was likely dozing a little since I hadn’t slept since before my nightly screaming bundle of joy was born.) My husband was kicking back in the chair, probably enjoying the sunlight which we hadn’t gotten out to truly see since our son was born when my brother, who had been boogie boarding, came bounding up to us, an ecstatic grin on his face. (I still picture that look that a dog has in anticipation of you throwing a ball or them bringing it back to you. And yes, I did just compare my little brother to a tail wagging puppy with a grin on his face. I figure I’m his older sister so I have some entitlement to do so.)
I remember asking him what he was so excited about and he stated that there were tons of jellyfish just down the beach a ways that had washed up on shore. All different kinds. (We are from the desert, so I can see why this would be something cool for him to see.) I was intrigued so I asked him to stay with the baby while we walked down for a few to look at the jellyfish.
It was not too far of a walk down the beach but far enough we couldn’t see our blanket. My husband pulled out his phone (camera more likely, did phones have cameras in 2005 that most of us could afford?) to snap a few pictures. As I bent down to look at a purple and blue jellyfish, I caught the movement of someone running towards us from a distance. I squinted and remarked how much this boy looked like my brother. As he came nearer, I realized it was my brother.
Anyone who has children knows that instant panic, especially when it’s your first and they are a newborn. Assuming that something bad had happened to the baby (but why wouldn’t he have the baby with him?!) I stared at him. Instead, he leaned down and said with great enthusiasm “So, I see you found the jellyfish!!”
I’ll admit, there was probably about a 5 second gap between him saying these words and my realizing what he had actually just said. Then, in an eerie calm, I said “Um, where is my newborn?”
The look on his face, as my husband went quickly up the beach to the now unattended newborn.
I think about a million things went through my mind at this point. Could he really have been so dumb and short memory term that he literally forgot in 5 min his only job was to sit on the towel with a newborn? Should I push him onto the pile of jellyfish since he found them so fascinating? Should I yell at him or just continue to give him the death stare?
Perhaps none of this seems too big of a deal, but with the fact that a newborn had been stolen from a local hospital a couple of weeks before my son was born, the very idea that someone could do something like that was fresh on my mind. Not to mention we could get the police called on us for parental neglect.
Instead, I merely opted for shaking my head, calling him a moron and threatening to call our mother and let her know what he had just done to her first grandson. I figured he had to go back home to her, so he would get an earful.
So, that’s why we tease my brother about the jellyfish incident. He was lucky the mommy hormones didn’t rage at him too much and I was thankful truly nothing happened to my baby, you know, like a random stranger walking off with him. It was a long time before we trusted my brother with the baby… I wonder why. And someday, one of his gifts is going to be a t shirt with my sons picture on it and captioned, “The Jellyfish Incident of 2005.”
I mean, seriously, how could you forget this cute little face and leave him alone on the beach?