My brother turned 17 yesterday. We ate his ice cream cake today.

Yes, there’s a bit of an age gap. That gap means I will always think of him as a five year old. Even as he applies for college. Even though he’s almost six foot tall. When I think of him I think of a little freckled kid who memorized more movie lines than I’ve ever heard.

Also, my mom’s dog heard something scary outside.

She can’t deal with thunderstorms, fireworks, car horns, distant gunshots, chainsaws, and any new loud noise. Poor girl can’t be soothed. We tried a thunder-jacket to no avail. She has something from the vet for the worst storms. But most of the time her coping technique – if my mother isn’t nearby to knock over – is to shimmy into a corner. Small spaces. It’s sad and cute all at once.