Uncle Paul

My brother Paul is about five and a half years younger than me.  I remember him as a baby and he was just about the cutest thing you ever saw.  He grew into such a curious little boy.  My girlfriends remember him coming to our soccer games and searching for bugs on the sidelines.  He loved bugs.  Once, when he was about 5 or 6 and I was 10 or 11 he found a CRAZY bug in my mom's old boyfriend's apartment garage..  It looked like this:

He lovingly named it "Abby Bug" and fed it daily "Gaines Burgers".  Paul also loved frogs.  My grandmother used to tell a story of strolling Paul through the condominium complex next to her building that had little pools with lily pads and fish and tadpoles and frogs.  She said, on this particular day, Paul leaped out of his stroller and ran off someplace, she couldn't even see him.  Then he came back to the stroller with a gigantic toad in his hands.  He still has an eye for frogs.  He denies this next story, but I promise you it happened - One night in Costa Rica, we were out at the old beach disco (Mar Y Sombre - recuerdes?).  Entonces, the road home is windy and straight uphill.  As we are climbing the hill in our cab, it is pouring rain and out of nowhere Paul yells, "STOP!"  The taxi driver screeches to a halt, my friend and I who were with him in the cab and the driver all look at Paul and Paul looks at us and says, "I thought I saw a frog". It's possible I have embellished the story somewhat but it is pretty close to the truth.  He knows lots about animals and bugs and is ridiculously smart.  Kid seriously got like a 1460 or something on his SATs.  When I was living in NY, I went to see the Darwin exhibit at the Natural History Museum and all I could think the whole time was, "Paul's brain works like this."  Paul loves kids.  He was also on the family bandwagon in worshipping our cousin Nathan.  He always was looking for the perfect presents for Nate and the two of them used to crack each other up.  As I recall, Paul bought Nathan his first drum set and now Natie is a drummer in his own band.  Well, Paul was PSYCHED to be an uncle.  He had BIG PLANS for what he and Max would do together in all of the years that were supposed to come.  Paul wanted to buy Max a microscope and teach him about science.  He wanted to get him science kits and play all sorts of games with him.  He was going to babysit and take care of him.  I actually lied when I said that only grandmothers had ever babysat for Max.  I forgot that one time my mom had to run out and left Max with her best friend Jackie and Uncle Paul.  It was during the reflux period and Max was super fussy.  I guess it was nearly impossible to get him down for his nap.  It breaks my heart that Paul didn't get a chance to babysit the easy Max, that he never got to teach him about frogs and pollywogs, that they never had the chance to sit and look through a microscope together.  I actually only have one photo of Max and Paul - a group photo from Passover of Paul, me, Max, Ted and Mandy.  It is framed on our bookshelf but I don't have the electronic version.  Breaks my heart that I don't have lots and lots of pictures of Max with his Uncle Paul.  And here is the understatement of the year -  Life just isn't fair.

1 comment

Jenny Romanowski said...

I have been reading your posts and I have to say thank you for giving me a peek into one of the most beautiful little boy's moments in time. I can not express my emotions with you but to say I cry and pray for you every night. The unknown explanation is unbearable and will forever be consuming. There is no getting over or moving on but mearly existing day to day. You are the judge of your own healing and you are the only one who can take steps toward a sense of normalcy or something different than what was.. No one should share their opinion with you on your healing process unless they fit into your shoes. Your words and strength are beautiful...maybe you were picked for him for a reason and although your time together was short you were the one he had it to spend with. May God hold you at night and open the door for Maxie to return to you in your dreams. Please take my word with sincere kindness and love. I wish you solace and peace.