My Big Brother
I have great admiration and respect for my younger brothers. The same can be said about, Jason, my older brother. Just to say that I have brothers is a pleasant reminder of how much of a blessing all of them are - not just to me, but for those that have the privilege of knowing them and being in their company.
Fortunately for me, my blessings do not stop at my younger brothers. My blessings actually started with my older brother. I feel like all my brothers are also my best friends which says something about how we were raised and how we decided what kind of men we wanted to become. Jason and I have been together the longest...and we didn't always act like close friends. We acted how brothers normally act when they're young. I have mentioned before that Evan and I were like Tom and Jerry. Jason and I were the original cat and mouse duo. I have vivid memories of him picking on me and teasing me (those thankfully stopped at childhood) as well as fond memories of when we tackled our days of childhood as a team.
On the one side of our house in Kinzers, I guess it was the west side, we had a door that led into the living room that to my knowledge was never-ever used. But outside of that door was a very small porch. Barely big enough for two kids to sit on. One time during the summer - or maybe just a sunny Saturday - Jason and I were using that porch as a hideout of some sort. This was a day where the cat and mouse were playing nicely together. I remember because there weren't stairs leading up to that porch, but rather surrounded by foliage. Being smaller, it wasn't easy for me to hoist myself up. Extending his hand, Jason reached out offering it to me. I grabbed it and he pulled me up. The memory stops there. But I don't need to remember more. That says it all.
Most of my childhood memories are of just Jason and I. One of them being the tree-house our dad built. To us, it was a castle in the sky. With bunk beds, a balcony and being within a distance to where an extension cord could reach from the house to the 9-inch B&W TV, it was a luxurious hotel room. We watched the A-Team up there and probably The Dukes of Hazard and Knight Rider too. I remember Jason getting album pages for his baseball cards for his birthday and since the tree-house was an extension of our own bedroom, we did everything up there including baseball card stuff. One time - and one-time only - he let me put one of his cards in. What an honor!
We played one vs. one football in the back yard as well as countless Wiffle Ball games. I remember having to stop in order to go use the bathroom. "Go for me while your up there!" he shouted. We often peed together. Yes, peed. We were the original Ghostbusters. Well, not really, but we did cross streams. I did not share this honor with my younger brothers. And right now they're reading this feeling rather bummed I suppose.
I love reminiscing about those good old days. The days of sledding and building tunnels up on Grandma and Grandpa's hill. Of going to Dutch Wonderland with Grandpa Graybill and riding the cars over and over again.
If those memories were to be extracted and I no longer had the ability to look back and remember, I would still have something I consider to be just as important and perhaps even more important. My brother now. We had some fun times growing up, but it's the man my big brother became that is so deserving of my respect.
Jason once said, "I wasn't the best Christian." Whatever path he was referencing was a path he at some point decided to diverge from. From that moment on, my big brother became a true man of God, an amazing father and husband and someone I am honored and blessed to call brother. We all go through storms, but we all don't come out of them better people. Jason has.
In honor of my dad, whom we lost ten years ago, my brothers and I spend a weekend up in the mountains where we enjoy being in the outdoors including Wiffle Ball and fire-side chats. Last year Jason and I were the only ones that could make it. We enjoyed our time together as brothers while reading, riding bikes and watching movies. However, it was what happened the moment I was leaving that I will always remember. With the same hand he used in Kinzers to hoist me up onto that porch, he used to lay on my shoulder...and pray. My big brother, whom I shared my first piece of Hubba Bubba together with many years earlier, the big brother that taught me not to carry my books to class like a nerd was praying for me.
It all comes back to the men we decided to become and to the paths each of my brothers and I decided to diverge from. Without those choices I wouldn't be surrounded by the Godly-men that I am so blessed to be around.
For my big brother...I love you.
(I guess our relatives were right after all.)