I come from a close-knit family, and it’s been a blessing more often than it’s been a curse. This past weekend, my brother performed in the annual freshman show, and my mom, sister and sister’s boyfriend were able to come. Dad was home with the other brother. Seeing Alex perform with other freshmen boys from his residence hall (and WIN) got me to feeling nostalgic (as I am wont to do).
I was almost three when my sister was born, so my memories of her as a baby are murky at best. Alex was born when I was nine, so I really remember watching him grow up. I can’t even describe what an amazing gift this has been for me. I’ve always been the motherly type, I suppose. It often comes with being the eldest child. So, imagine my delight when I suddenly had a real, live doll. I remember feeding him, changing him, rocking him, etc. I remember how hot he would get when he fell asleep in my arms and how loud he would scream anytime someone went near him with nailclippers. I remember his adorable speech impediments and expressions and his imaginary friend “Folks”. I remember taking him to the grocery store with me when I had finally gotten my driver’s license (and was more than willing to run errands for my mom) and getting dirty looks from older women who assumed I was an unwed teenage mother (oh, the Bible Belt).
I watched him overcome challenges and grow into a confident, hilarious young man. I am, in some ways, more of a second mom to him than a sister. I feel a sense of tenderness and pride when I hear him talk about God or find out about something kind that he did. He knows that he is a natural leader, and he intentionally tries to make people feel included and special. He is humble and down-to-earth, but he has big dreams, too. I can’t wait to see what God will do in his life during this time while he is in college. I’d say he’s off to a pretty good start.
It has been wonderful to live in the same town with him again, and I find myself struggling to keep from checking in with him too often. I remind myself that he needs to have the “college experience” and be independent. He knows that I’m here if he needs anything. Sunday afternoon he came over for lunch with the family and fell asleep on our couch. I saw him there all curled up and peaceful. It was nice to be reminded that although he is a college man now, he’s still my baby brother.