Monica + Andy
The night of the Debbie Gibson Electric Youth concert I was in tears. A sensitive little prince, there was no ticket for me.
I had been set up.
More accurately, I had set myself up.
By saying I didn’t like Debbie Gibson, the four tickets got allocated to others: my obsessed with Debbie Gibson cousin Erica, her older brother Sam, my sister Monica, and my uncle — the driver and chaperone. When I realized there was no ticket for me, I lost it — crying uncontrollably.
Even though I didn’t admit to liking the music, deep down I did.
As soon as she saw my tears, my sister gave me her ticket. She would stay home without us.
I couldn’t believe it. I would never have done such a thing.
Happily, I took it.
The Little Half-Indian Prince
The youngest boy in an Indian family has a good life. Growing up in a matriarchal family where my Indian mom’s culture was dominant, I experienced this first hand.
Here are the basics:
(1) The baby boy is treated as a prince.
(2) He reveres his mom, who is generally worthy of worship.
(3) His mom’s sisters — the Maasi's — rule by fiat, and have de facto mom power at any time.
(4) His older sister is his Didi, and plays a dual role. She is a friend and a yet another mother figure, and cleverly plays both sides in pursuit of the baby boy’s learning and happiness.
Growing up with four Maasi’s and one Didi, I was all set. I wasn’t getting away with anything, either.
It’s a good gig. It’s a lot of love.
Monica + Andy
My sister has a children’s clothing brand. A core purpose of Monica’s company includes a tenet that brothers and sisters, and siblings in general, should be best friends.
One time when she skipped school, I filmed her to prove it, and presented the evidence to my parents. Another time, I pretended she had run over my foot with the car when in reality it barely brushed my toe. At the nadir of our relationship, I threw a dead wasp on Monica and one her friends.
My reward for this kind of behavior was her selfless and undying love.
A Dharmic Passing of the Torch
Now we have a new child in the family who gets all she wants. Bella. Clothing that little girl is the inspiration behind Monica the entrepreneur. In a wonderful development, while I remain her baby brother, I now play the role of helping Monica through the dream/pain-cave duality of being an entrepreneur.
Getting to help her is a gift.
The dharma of the universe is restored.
Back at the Spectrum
Debbie Gibson’s first album was called Out of the Blue. Her second was called Electric Youth. I will never forget driving into Philly, without my sister, to see the show. It was my first concert. The date was August 1st, 1989. When Only in My Dreams came on at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, I sang just as loudly as everyone else.
That night, I was dreaming of my own happiness.
Monica, meanwhile, was dreaming of mine.
Now I dream for hers.