World, meet Andrew Waldkirch.

Comedy comes in threes. So do Waldkirchs.

Unless you are in my family or are one of the ones that I am privileged enough to call my best friends, you may not know that. Or, at least, you certainly don’t know that from me.

I was born into a family as the baby. The third. I completed the comedy rule of three. But my third was different than most. The first of us was a little different than most. Different in the way that people don’t know what to ask or say or do when they first hear about his differences. The different one is my brother, Andrew. The first in so many things in our family. He was the first born and he was also the first to go to heaven.

Andrew’s differences started the second he entered this world. Due to an unpredictable complication when my mom went into labor, Andrew was born, 28 years ago to the day, severely developmentally disabled. His disabilities meant he would never live a normal life. He would never walk, talk, stand, or eat on his own.

The thing about Andrew, though, and all of us, really, is that he did not know he was different. To him, he was the same. He was a Waldkirch, he was just himself. He would never know that his body was originally built to run and jump and sing and write and start the rule of threes for the Waldkirchs.

While he may have been different, he was still unique and wonderful and human. Here are some of the things I know about Andrew and his life and his spirit:
He was kind. He lived in a Center that was best suited to care for him for the 20 years the world was blessed to have him. There were dozens of others that lived there with him that were angry and upset, understandably, but not Andrew. He was kind and calm and lovely to everyone that met him.
He was strong. He lived 15 years longer than was originally expected, and, oh yeah, he kicked butt when he was born, too. They thought he might not even survive that night. He lived through countless surgeries and illnesses and procedures and dealt with them all head on for 20 full, beautiful years.
He loved music. This was one way he didn’t seem so different. He was the star student in music therapy classes. His party trick was turning his head when he heard music, and though you may not know much about the extent of his disabilities, this party trick was worth a million bucks. I’m still proud of him for it.
He was generous. Even though he couldn’t respond to someone by speaking, that didn’t mean he couldn’t be the best listener in the whole world.
He had the prettiest eyes. Selfishly, I like to say we were the only two Waldkirchs with hazel eyes, but his were better. They were, like him, perfect in every way.

 

Those are just some of the things I know about my brother and those are the things about myself that I try to make more the same. I try not to be so different.

Yes, I’m angry and sad and confused and hurt about the fact that I was only 15 when Andrew was yanked from my life, but I know it’s better this way. I know I never had to deal with being mad or sad or any other bad feeling at my brother. I got all the good things.

Today, I wanted to share a little about my amazing oldest brother, Andrew, because very few people got to know how cool he was.

The comedy rule of threes was not broken when Andrew died. In fact, I think it lives on more and more every day when the second of us, Dan, and I take all the good parts of Andrew and use them. We do this whenever we make music or write comedy or smile or laugh. That is who Andrew was and I know Dan and I are forever jealous of how cool and perfect Andrew was.

So, Happy 28th Birthday, Andy, and thanks for paving the way.

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Monologue Mondays: Life, man.

Well, today was shitty. I had every intention of curling up with coffee tonight and writing a really good monologue for the week, but in fact, my own personal monologue became more important.

Basically, it rained here in LA and all hell broke loose. Well, less hell and more the entire ceiling of my apartment. We had leaks galore and if you walk into my room at this point in time, it is akin to walking into a rainforest biosphere. It is simply moist and therefore they need to tear all of our ceilings and walls down and make sure everything gets dried and then put them back up again. So, my roommates and I are displaced. To where, I still don’t know. What we do know is that starting tomorrow night, for “approximately two weeks”, we get to live in an extended stay type of situation while our apartment is being fixed. A huge inconvenience, but more than that it’s just incredibly stressful. Yeah, my twenty minute phone call with my parents was me sobbing and not knowing what to do. And I still don’t really know what to do or where I’ll be sleeping 24 hours from now, but there’s literally nothing I can do. I don’t want to die from mold, hence, I must leave this place for two weeks. Who knew I was so attached to this apartment already?

Look, I know two weeks is not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things and this will be a great story in the chapter of my book that details my first year in Los Angeles, but right now it sucks. Thank the good lord I have a great friend out here who dropped everything, picked up Chinese food, ran over and helped me pack my life up. Honestly, it was the greatest most selfless thing ever and I’m eternally grateful to her.

 

So, no Monologue Monday. Or I guess you could just say this was my own personal Monologue Monday, but in any case, we’ll see how much I can write this week. Will I have internet? Will I be able to do my laundry? What happens if an opportunity pops up and I get a job opportunity? Or a job? Will the couch be a good writing couch?

Yeah, I’m aware this stuff doesn’t really matter, but also it definitely matters. Look, if you found out you’d have to leave your house tomorrow for two weeks, and not only that, but absolutely every item in your home had to be removed as well, you’d be freaking out a little bit.

 

I’ll make it through, obviously, because clearly this is not a life or death situation, but I have every right to complain about it for a little bit.

Funny Fridays: It’s Halloween So It’s Kind of a Post About Blood

So, I go in for my second spec script writing class tomorrow and have to bring in ideas for scripts of current television shows. I’ve known for years now that almost all current television shows are a direct reflection of real stories that the writers have or their friends have or some combination of the above. It might be clear already, but rarely do I share personal stories unless I think they’re really funny and don’t actually reveal anything about me as a human. Here’s a story that I think is much like that. For some people, they might be embarrassed by this story, but I can’t really do anything to change it, and also it’s such a crazy thing that would seem to only happen in the movies.

 

Here goes:

I was relatively young when I got my first period. (ARE YOU HOOKED YET?) It was in fifth grade, which also happened to be the year that we were able to take the test and finally become altar servers. Yes, I went to Catholic school and I think almost everyone, barring maybe four kids, was signing up to be a server. Mostly you got to wear cool robes and also if you happened to be scheduled to serve a school mass during the week, you’d get out of your first and second hour classes. I was all in. It’s also I guess a little important that I took this pretty seriously. We learned the proper way to carry the cross down the aisle of the church and the correct way to tie the rope around our albs (see, I do know what I’m talking about).

Eventually, I passed the test and was put on the schedule a few times and I was getting pretty confident and pretty thankful to be serving the lord in that way. But, one day, it was a 10:30 mass at my church, the service that every family in the church pretty much went to–oh, and by the way, the church I grew up in was a huge congregation. I’m pretty sure the physical church sat about 750 people and on 10:30 Sunday masses, the church was generally about 2/3 full. Everything was going as planned. I was holding the prayer book well, I was sitting and listening to the readings and homily without yawning once, then it was time to walk to the back of the church to get the gifts that were to be presented to the priest for communion. I walked back with wonderful ease in my pristine white alb, or so I thought, and gathered the brave souls who would make that march with me to the front of the church. I smiled, I looked one with the lord, and I marched my entire body through the church. I took the few steps up the staircase to the altar so as to further put myself on display. I went and returned the cross to its stand and it is then, and only then, a fellow altar server pulled me to the side and said, “Um, Maria, you have a little something on the back of your alb.”

Yes, you are correct, I had gotten my period and the lord wanted the church to know. I ran into the sacristy (see, another word I remember) and looked in the full length mirror that was there for you to look into as you tied your rope and dealt with your inevitable Catholic guilt. Yep, there it was, quite possibly the largest period stain anyone has seen outside of their copy of the American Girl Doll book, “The Care and Keeping of You”. I had marched with pride and surely the boys in my grade who were undoubtedly there and who also had just learned the facts of life earlier that year were snickering and also were horribly uncomfortable and also hadn’t hit puberty so they weren’t really processing anything correctly at that point. I waited in the sacristy until the mass was over and waited and waited some more until I had heard the church mostly empty, at which point, I ran out to my mom and immediately started weeping. She kept reassuring me that not that many people had noticed (lie) and that it was all part of learning how to deal with your period (maybe true, but also, this example was not in my aforementioned American Girl book) and that it had happened to tons of people before (jury is still out on that one). I was eleven, my god, everything was earth shattering and obviously my earth was shattered by this. I immediately got real good at dealing with my time of the month and also I didn’t have to worry about breaking the news to my friends who hadn’t quite hit puberty that I had already crossed that bloodied battlefield.

Honestly, thank god, I had this experience as a fifth grader, for if had been later in life, I may have never recovered. The boys would have been a little more vocal with their ridicule, and the girls probably would have made fun of me for not knowing how to deal with our worst enemy.

I take it back, though, I don’t thank god for this experience, because quite honestly, he couldn’t have chosen a more terrible time and place for this to happen. At least I got back at him by ruining an alb, though.