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Slice 17 of 365

I have a little brother. Not my actual brother, Michael, who is not so little anymore. He’s over 40 now and got two wonderful kids and an amazing wife.

My little brother, no name for privacy reasons-henceforth known as little bro, is a seven-year old from Big Brothers/Big Sisters. We’ve been together for about a year and half. He was five going on six when I first met him May of last year.

We live in the middle of nowhere and he lives even further north of me on the edge of nowhere. We have a grocery store and a post office but if you want to do anything it’s a 30 minute ride from my house and about 45 from his.

He says, “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer?” often.

I usually answer, “Nope, three more days to go, at least.”

Today we went bowling. Not too tough an activity but man does he wear me out no matter what we do. Because of course, he being seven, he always wants to do more. Stopping the fun is forbidden and too often ends in a very sullen child on the ride home. Part of it is his age and part of it is the lack of discipline at home. It’s a tough road because I’m not supposed to be parental but his age makes that hard.

He is mixed race with some actual Native American. I only mention that because I think the Native American part is cool.

He’s a good kid with a single 25-year-old mom who could be making better decisions. I try not to be judgy because my decision-making compass isn’t exactly up to code and pointing north either. They came downy from Alaska leaving the gang-member father behind.

She has definitely chosen several wrong people to be in her life. Since I’ve known her she’s had the police at her house three times, that I know of, and spent the night in jail once where I ended up taking him overnight just before Thanksgiving last year because of it. Little bro has seen drunk men hit her, so I’m told by him at least.

Part of me takes it with a grain of salt and part of me knows kids tell more truths than anybody thinks. I report anything I feel endangers little bro to our match advisor at Big Brothers and just hope he’s safe.

I expected there would be a single mom, it makes sense because they want the missing male influence in their child’s life. I also expected less than middle class conditions which I have to look past because I’m not there for that purpose.

I guess I was aware that there could be domestic type issues but I really thought she had her stuff together when I first met her so it completely blindsided me when it started going down hill.

She seems better these days and just finished a court appointed anger management class so I’m hoping the drama will stop or at least slow down.

I chose a younger child because I thought it would be more fun. Also I just didn’t think I’d have anything to talk about with an older boy. I don’t do sports or video games and around here it’s even worse with manly men who hunt and go outdoors for purposes of more than just getting to their cars.

It’s not been the experience I thought it would be but it’s been interesting and eye-opening. As long as he’s getting something out of it that’s all that really matters.

Until tomorrow…