Wearing a Minnie Mouse dress makes everything okay (The story of Nuonkey)

This week has been a shining beacon of hope amidst a month of tough times and I like to think it’s mainly because my brother is home.

While I was super excited about getting tons of new music from him , I’m really happy to see Michael.  We’re pretty close and I really look up to him, even though he’s three years younger.

We haven’t always been friends.  The day he was born, my dad came up to me and told me that I had a new baby brother.  My three-year-old-self was not pleased.  I screamed “WHY IS GOD PUNISHING ME?!” and threw myself to the floor for a tantrum of epic proportions.  Dad let me wear my Minnie Mouse Halloween costume to the hospital to meet this little stranger and I finally calmed down.  The first picture of us together is me poking him in the face and laughing (this will be indictive of our entire future brother/sister relationship)

Growing up we fought a lot.  Indian burns, pinching, nail digging until one of us bled.  This is why I have garnered a successful career as a cage fighter.

We also spent a lot of time having fun together.  We’d team up to wreck havoc against our babysitters.  We’d play Santa Clause in our garage in the middle of July.  We planned surprises for our parents.

If you’re wondering about the title of this post, it’s my nickname for Michael. The summer after I turned 11, my family went to a balloon festival. My brother was being super annoying as usual and trying to make me laugh as I attempted to swallow a pill (Tylenol for a headache) for the very first time. I was spitting out water and cracking up and went to call him a monkey. However, it came out as nunkey (I spell it Nuonkey because I’m a complete weirdo) and the name just stuck.

I grew up dancing and my mom was always dragging my brother along to pick me up from dance class.  When I was 8 and he was 5, my studio started a boys-only class.  My mom signed him up and he was a natural tapper.  He was picked to do a duet with a cute little girl to “Ain’t She Sweet”.  It was pretty much the cutest thing ever and they did so well that our dance teacher decided to bring them along when we competed at our national dance competition in NYC that summer.  Both of our dances ended up in the final round for under 13 dancers.  At the awards ceremony, my dance placed 4th and his placed 1st.  He got a trophy taller than he was and $6,000.  I didn’t talk to him for the rest of that summer.

I stopped dancing competitively when I was 15: I love to dance, but to be great you can’t do anything else.  I wanted to move on to acting and singing and boys.

I’m so proud of my brother: he danced until he graduated high school and got better every year.  I saw him do his first contemporary solo when he was 15 to Round Here by Counting Crows and it moved me to tears.  He’s won lots of awards and has been selected to do master classes with some of the best dancers in the world.

As we’ve gotten older, we’ve grown a lot closer.  We spent a lot of time together this summer and I like that our relationship has grown so much as adults.



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