• Lauren


A few weeks ago, I was driving in the car with Vince and he asked to listen to an AM radio station. It was a Saturday so I knew it wasn't a football broadcast. He said he wanted to listen to Frank Sinatra like Uncle Russell. TBH, I didn't even realize that there was an AM radio station in Charlotte that played Ol' Blue Eyes. Before I could even say yes, he had changed the station and Frank's voice was serenading us along our ride home. A few songs in, as we continued to listen, a song played, and its melody immediately transported me back to when I was a teenager living in my parents house. Time froze, like the playback in a movie.

Let me explain: In the Dabak household, Saturday meant the broadcast of Saturday with Sinatra. We lived in Oradell, NJ, on a cul-de-sac. On Saturday mornings, Russell was home and would help my mom with chores. But at 2 PM, everything stopped, like People's Court for Raymond Babbitt in RainMan, Saturday with Sinatra would takeover no matter where we were at the time.

Vividly, my memory brought me back to walking up the steps of our center hall colonial, hearing Russell sing, always off key and never saying the correct lyrics. A little further up the steps, peering to my left, through the banister I could see Russell's bed with all his stuffed animals lined up in size order. Once I reached the top, I could see Russ kneeling in front of his stereo wearing his headphones listening to the radio. Even with headphones on, the creak in the step at the of the top of the landing always triggered him to greet me with a, "Hi Lauren". Most times, I would then pop into his room and talk to him or sing along for a bit, get a quick hug and leave. Sometimes I would just watch him while he sang (without him even knowing) and listen. Despite his off key notes and lack of accurate lyrics, he always made me smile. He was in his happy place and nothing else mattered.

That flashback, and intense nostalgia, honestly, was a gentile reminder of how truly fleeting life is. #20+yearsgoneby and how important it is to live by what matters to you.

Russell and I have indescribable bond. I have learned more from him during my 41 years on this earth than anyone else. We have belly laughed so hard that Russ has cried. We still have SO my inside jokes that only we understand (along with our brother, Raymond).

Other times, he has frustrated me beyond imaginable patience, annoyed me with the same question 1,000,000 over and over, but above all, his love for me has never changed. It's pure, and it's true. He loves innocently and without question. He will always be my big brother (even though I am taller than him). We inverted our conventional sibling roles when I was very young, and I assumed being his protector (remind me to tell you guys Russell's bicycle story next). He has also helped me filter through many people, and situations that were unfavorable or negative as well as avoid some pitfalls. Our relationship has helped form who I am today and develop my own personal Rules for Living . These "rules" or points, at times have received much criticism by others, but have helped me WOOSAH my life so that I could live as free and as simple as #BigRuss, aka, the Big Kahuna.

So here goes:

  1. Embrace life and when you become content or complacent, move.

  2. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That's when the good stuff starts to happen.

  3. Dig up those unfulfilled a goals or dreams and make them happen.

  4. Breathe in every moment you live.

  5. Smile, nod, and do as you want.

  6. Never wish revenge. Not giving a damn will keep them wondering what your next step will be.

  7. Lastly, and most importantly, listen to the music of life and like Russ, sing like it's Saturday with Sinatra.

Goodnight folks....


where life is always in bloom ©

Russell's Room is dedicated supporting artists and their varying abilities. The mission for Russell's Room is to empower, support and encourage other like minded individuals who are on a similar journey to foster relationships that are made to last a lifetime and build on the 3 pillars: kindness, love and support and highlight an individuals abilities and contributions to the world.