One night I was sitting in my kitchen half-listening as my 15 year-old
brother Tommy antagonized my 12 year-old brother Kevin. I didn't pay
Kevin charged up the stairs with the hurt on his face.
About 20 minutes later, as I was walking upstairs I heard Kevin crying
inside the bathroom.
I bit my tongue to stop myself from saying, "Come on Kev, don't be such a
Instead, I knocked on the door and asked, "Hey Kev, do you wanna talk?"
I tried again, "Hey why don't you come out of there?"
Again, no response.
So, joking around, I grabbed a stack of index cards and a pencil and wrote,
"If you don't want to talk, we can write notes to each other."
An hour later I was still sitting on the floor outside the bathroom with
stacks of index cards in front of me. One was blank and one was cards from
Kevin on which he had translated all his yucky feelings into words for me.
By this time, I don't care about the rings of my precious phone and
Creek show downstairs. As I read one of Kevin's notes, tears came to
my eyes. It said, "Nobody in this family cares about me. I'm not the
youngest, and I'm not the oldest, and I'm not talented. Tommy thinks I'm a
wuss and Dad wishes he had the other Kevin as a kid because he's better at
basketball. And you're never around to even notice me."
Tears came to my eyes as I wrote back to him. It was true what he had
said about me. I wrote back, "You know Kev, I really do love you and I'm
I don't always show it. I am here for you and you are loved in this
There was no response for a while, but then I heard a tearing sound coming
from inside the bathroom. Kevin, who had run out of index cards wrote on a
torn up paper cup, "Thanks."
I wrote back "For what?" It returned to me with "Loving me" written on it.
Since then, I
try my best to never only half-notice my family members anymore. Kevin and
have a closer relationship now, and sometimes when one of us notices that
other is upset we'll smile and say "Write it on a paper cup."