You were my first memory. Mom going into labor, staying at gma and gpa’s house, the call you were here and you were a boy. There were tears because you weren’t a sister and for a few days, I wasn’t too sure. As days turned to weeks and weeks into months, you became a brother in its fullest sense. A word no longer just a title. There were mud pies and dump trucks, ‘bucking broncos’ with a “hop on toots!” and endless rounds of hide and seek. We pestered and bickered rarely, only a few occasions sticking in my mind. Where some of my peers thought younger siblings were embarrassing and annoying, I just always sort of thought you were awesome. My crazy little exhibitionist brother who sang faux Spanish opera at the top of his lungs and created strange phrases like, “sweet puppy my eye!”
I remember the first time I really knew you loved me. There was always tale of your tears when I went away for a week or so for camp, but when I saw it and knew it, you were in third grade. I must have been going into 8th grade and was attending Calvin Crest as a junior high camper. You were in your first week at camp and we caught each others’ eye at the pool. Your face lit up and I said, “hiya bud!” – I’ve called you that ever since. We hugged hard and I loved you. Somewhere in the same year you went to the hardware store with grandpa for woodshop lessons. You could make anything you wanted for anyone and you made me a jewelry box with the inscription, “the love box,” in green puffy paint on the bottom. And then years later this happened. You’re something special, you know that?
You were always the better swimmer but I didn’t mind much. Some of my favorite memories are driving to your high school swim meets from UCLA to watch you fly in water. Quite literally, I was your most obvious fan. Even dad’s yelps couldn’t compare to me getting in your face at the end of the lane while you turned. Our mutual coach never understood how such a shy swimmer could have a studly brother who thrived when the gun went off. That’s ok. Swimming was your thing.
Remember Colorado? We’ll never forget, I’m sure. The giant boulder. The will to the top and the older sister who froze on the way to the bottom, needing for one of the first times, her
little brother for help. We climbed every boulder we could find. At once the right age to be friends and partners in adventure. My college career coming to a close and yours soon to be on the horizon, one last family vacation in the Great Outdoors. I’m so thankful our parents fostered adventure and love for the outdoors in our hearts.
I gave you a brother shortly after and you two became the most opposite sized peas in a pod you can imagine. My heart sort of jumps when I think about it. Right now, he’s your Best Man and practicing the song he’ll play at your wedding. It sounds good, by the way.
We left for Hawaii and six months later you joined us. I am so grateful to God for the gift of family on that small island during some particularly lonely seasons. Also so thankful to have been a part of your college experience. How unique, and how wonderful a blessing.
I remember meeting Chrissy, the Huntington Beach bombshell who lived in Saudi Arabia for a few years, on our way to the movies. Quite honestly, I tried not to get attached too quickly. Relationships formed early in college don’t usually last. Not too much time went by though and suddenly this girl was as much a part of our family as anyone else. I just sort of secretly hoped it wouldn’t end. I didn’t see the magic for a few years though.
June of freshman year made you an uncle. What a role. And boy do you fill it. From her earliest months Elianna attached herself to you and in her eyes, you knew she knew you were special. Chrissy too. I’ll never forget the blanket she made and the box of clothes the two of you sent our way when she was born. You and Chrissy were our favorite babysitters. Even when we came home to find a naked Ellie unswaddled in her crib because you forgot to put her pajamas on (to be fair, Chrissy wasn’t there for that one). That was a good laugh.
Sunday lunches were Teddy’s Burgers and some of my very favorite moments of the week. In those hours, as years matured you, we saw what brought you two to this day, this moment of forever love. You guys have IT. Sort of the undefinable IT that makes your relationship have the good stuff, the lasting stuff. Your dreams together are amazing. I hope you really do live in a shipping container off the grid some day. Really I do. I hope you have a farm and compost and grow the earth to feed and multiply. I hope your wildest dreams take form so that people might see your life and see adventure and know that God is in all of it. I love how you share it, how both of you own it. Your minds and hearts together are a good thing. And this journey you’re on together? This journey toward God and toward creative living?
Brother and sister know that today you are loved. Today you are given each other to explore and enjoy God and this amazing life we’re given. Sometimes, it’s going to be really really hard. On your knees hard. Desperate hard. But it’s going to be good too. And know that God is in the really hard and the really good… and that deep in the soul, the hard is good too. The best part of today is knowing you guys will do it together. Just like it was created for.
Happy wedding day Pat and Chrissy. Can’t wait to one day be your shipping container neighbor.