I was ten years old when my little brother was born. We call him Tad. Tad isn’t his given name. It’s short for his nickname; Tadpolios Maxholios, which he earned when he was a mere 5 years old.
It’s an embarrassing story. My little brother followed us into the woods behind the house, where we discovered hundreds of frog eggs in the pond. We told my little brother how they’d all die as he sat there fascinated by the wiggling tadpoles. “The water would dry up, the tadpoles dead.” He didn’t like that.
The hole my father had to fill after my little brother rescued these tadpoles, was nearly five feet deep. Dad was pissed. But to my little brother’s credit, he dug that hole, filled it with every egg, protected it with screens, watered and cared for it daily. Until our yard was littered with froglings.
We nicknamed him Tadpolios Maxholios and the name stuck. Tad is now 38, stands 6′ 2″ tall and has a D.B.A. (Doing Business As Document) for Tad, because so many people only know his name as that. I guess he isn’t so little anymore. -smile-
Tad is our Foundations’ COO – Chief Operations Officer. He is also the Dance Master at our Academy. He’s the man, the principle, head instructor, big hoohah there. The students address him as Dance Master Tad. We don’t allow holes. -smile-
Unlike myself, Tad stuck with Dance. He is a classically trained Ballet Dancer – Vaganova, thank you very much. He’s also trained in many other styles of Dance from contemporary to classic ballroom, hip hop to salsa and even Irish Step Dancing. During his young adulthood, Tad performed with a few Ballet Houses. He can sing, and once starred at The Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of The Opera. Tad is talented, in business and in Dance. No doubt.
If you met my little brother, you’d never know these things about him. I don’t know if it is because he is the baby of the family, or if it’s truly his good nature, but when you meet Tad, you meet the nicest, funniest, down to earth individual. Rarely do people expect the intelligence hidden behind his joking eyes and smile. Even rarer do they expect the wrath should you manage to jangle the rare few things that may anger him. When you meet Tad, you meet a nice guy.
Despite our age difference of ten years, and our geographical differences while Tad grew up, Tad and I are very close. We always have been. I may have another brother, older than Tad, and 3 sisters, but I’m not as close with any of them as I am with Tad. Tad’s more than a brother, he is my friend.
Our Family as a whole has been through a great deal of change since our Grandmother passed last year. We’ve lost members, new babies are on the way, and my little brother found out the shock of a lifetime when he was presented with a ten year old son, his ex-wife never told him of, after she took her own life. In one days’ time, my little brother went from bachelor to father. It’s been a little bumpy. But crazy Tad grins and swears it’s been worth every minute. That’s Tad!
As a big brother, I’ve spent my lifetime looking out for, messing with, and protecting my little brother. He’s always been there for me, when I’ve needed him. We argue. Two Russian men, we’re opinionated. We’ve had a hell of a time, here or there. We’ve gone through the rough times too. We’re brothers. Nothing comes between us, for long. I love my little brother.
This weekend I experienced one of the most profound epiphanies. We were informed of the death of one of our graduates. A former student, nineteen years of age. While I knew the student, and it is a huge loss to many, for my little brother the loss is amplified. This particular student had Student Teacher Assisted Tad for the last 2 years with our Academy. They were close. As close as an educator and student with a promising future can be. We all thought the young man would rejoin us as an instructor once he had his degree.
We are deeply saddened by this loss.
There is a lot that is happening now. We prepare to aid our student body in the grief process, our staff, ourselves, the young man’s family. It’s brutal.
As tumultuous as the past months have been, this added more heaviness to my own heart. I lost my grandmother, good friends, my mother. I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, The list goes on. Through some of these events, I’ve been a jackass. I can’t lie. I didn’t know why I reacted so poorly, but I can’t lie. I did.
Ria always tells me something amazing is born from death. She swears this. I’ve naysaid.
Yesterday as this young man’s death entered our world, and I ached for everyone, but particularly my brother, an amazing thing happened that has changed my life.
Tad stood on the stage at our Dance Academy. He was visibly upset. Tears in his eyes. Hands on his hips. I prepared for him to rage, as we’ve all done in my family; rage at the pain. As I walked on stage, he turned to me. He gulped in air, then said, “God damn. I hurt Bro!”
There was no rage. There was no explosion. There was no jackass.
With five words the man on the stage with the heaving chest taught this jackass what real strength is.
That man is my little brother, Tad.
I love you, Bro.