Thursday, December 15 1994 was not a normal Thursday. At this point, I had to go into hospital every Thursday for an Immunoglobulin transfusion (more on that later) and my mum always used to take me. On this particular Thursday, however, I went with my Gran. My mum stayed at home, vacuumed the house, cleaned the fish tank and then went into hospital to have a baby. Later that evening, after my transfusion, I went upstairs to the maternity ward and I met my little brother Michael for the first time.

A photo of me, Michael and my eyebrows

The mathematicians among you will have noticed that it’s going to be Young Michael’s 18th birthday this Saturday, and that’s precisely why I’m writing a post about how awesome he is.

Michael’s been brought up basically thinking that I’m “made of glass” – his words, not mine. That’s not to say that he’s always been sweetness and light: he’s trapped my hand in a car door, pushed me, kicked me, banged my head on a wall, stolen my Rupert bear, countless books and DVDs, turned the lights off while I’ve been in the bathroom, and carved my name into a coffee table with a screwdriver just to get me into trouble. You know, normal brother/sister stuff. Aside from all that, he’s been a total angel.

As he got older, he became someone I could depend on to help me do anything. I think if he had a pound for every time he’s run upstairs to get me some ibuprofen, or helped me put on my shoes and socks on a winter morning… well, he’d have a lot of money.

Michael carrying part of my Halloween costume, presumably because I made him

Michael carrying part of my Halloween costume, presumably because I made him

When he was younger, there were limits to what he could do to help, but he certainly got put through a lot. There was the time when my mum gave him my medicine by accident. There was the time when I had just started Methotrexate and was sick everywhere on a car journey. My mum, anticipating her one-year-old child may throw up on a car journey had packed a too-small-spare-outfit for Michael, but not for me. That day, Michael had to wear his too-small-spare-outfit, while I wore his original outfit – an enormous t-shirt with a smiley face on it, with my own turquoise sequinny shoes. To a hospital appointment. It was a bold look.

Now, when I ask him to do stuff for me because I’m just feeling a bit lazy, he calls me on it. When I’m being bratty, he tells me so. And when I’m not getting on his nerves, we’re mostly speaking to each other in pretend-French, taking hilarious photos of toy penguins, watching How I Met Your Mother and planning the sitcom we’re going to write together.

He’s essentially been my personal slave and constant companion for his whole life, and I just think, seeing as it’s his birthday, he should have a bit of recognition. So thanks, Gawkz, let’s go down the pub.


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