Yes. 11. Not 10. Everyone is going to be talking about what they did 10 years ago today. But quite frankly, I’ve already talked about what I was doing 10 years ago today, and it’s time for me to talk about what I was doing 11 years ago today.
11 years ago today, it was 105 degrees outside, but I couldn’t feel the heat sitting inside the nice, cool hospital room. I wasn’t sick or hurt. I was there with my mother, and my father. And, after a 9 month wait, I was finally getting to be there with my brother, too.
After a planned C-Section, and a lot of waiting, I got to greet my amazing brother. I got to hold his tiny body, all wrapped up, and see his amazing, precious face. I got to gaze into his beautiful blue eyes. And I got to talk to him.
Shortly after that, I realized that a baby was a frustrating thing. Sometimes babies cried. Sometimes, they pooped. They smelled. They were aggravating. Sometimes, though, they were sweet. Sometimes they smiled. Sometimes they gnawed on your fingers. Sometimes they did really cute things and made really cute noises.
I remember 10 years ago, when we decided due to personal conflicts, like school, we would celebrate my brother’s birthday on the 10th, instead of the 11th. We did. He had a birthday cake that looked like a bear. It was a birthday cake that took hours of careful, detailed work with a star tip. I would know. I decorated it. We celebrated, without knowledge that the next night, most people in America would be glued to their TV, watching the aftermath of the attacks.
10 years ago, I came home early from school and watched the attacks unfold as I put together Jeffrey’s new puzzle-piece floor treatment, and also put together his playset for his room with my mom and dad. I remember spending time with family, and with my brother, as it should have been.
9 years ago, I remember his second birthday. I remember his Bob the Builder themed party, the next cake I had decorated, dressing like Pilchard the Cat to make his party special. I remember how much he had grown and changed between the ages of one and two. I remember thinking he was growing insanely fast.
8 years ago, I don’t even remember the party. I remember being in amazement of how much Jeffrey was growing and changing.
7 years ago, he was in preschool. He was growing up before my eyes. He was finding his own likes and dislikes, his own friends, his own life. He was learning to be compassionate, learning to be the genuinely amazing person he still is today.
6 years ago today, my baby brother was starting kindergarten. I was starting college. It was crazy to see the difference between the two of us, and yet see the similarities. It was so impressive to see how smart he was, how clever and witty he could be.
5 years ago today, he was growing and changing. He had best friends. He had friends he played with often. He had interests and ideas of his very own.
4 years ago today, he was growing up, getting bigger, beginning to change into a new person.
3 years ago today, I was amazed at the kind of boy he was becoming, happy that he was so much like me and yet so different in so many ways.
2 years ago today, he had a cool Star Wars party with Star Wars games and his best friends in the world.
1 year ago today, I was shocked that he had already entered the double-digits, but at the same time, he still felt like a kid to me.
But today, he’s not a kid anymore. He’s a little man. He wears deodorant! He shares his passions with people. He is a star soccer player who got MVP on his team last year. He’s a Tony Hawk fan. His favorite soccer player for Sporting KC is Chance Meyers. He has his blond hair cut into a “skater cut.” He loves his skateboard, he loves FIFA video games, and he loves to play Crush the Castle on the computer. He likes to listen to K-Love. When no one is looking, he’ll bounce Zach’s bouncy chair. He gives. And he is shy about receiving. Today, I offered to buy him a milkshake, any flavor he wanted. And he said “No, it’s okay, you don’t have to get me one…” He is mindful of other people’s wants and needs. He’s soft-spoken, but also LOUD! He is so amazingly smart. He loves shows like Good Luck, Charlie and Shake It Up. He loves the computer. He loves loves loves soccer. He wants to be a professional soccer player someday.
He is getting so big, so smart, so amazing. And I could not ask for a better little brother.
Happy Birthday, Jeffrey.
I love you.