Two days ago my younger brother celebrated his earth day birthday. Daniel turned 15 years old.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DANIEL!
In the picture above he was only 13 I believe! Look how he towers above me!
Just as with the birth of my 16 year old sister, I saw my brother’s birth too. I’m not sure if they still allow 11 year old’s in the room during that time but fifteen years ago I was allowed to be in the room.
I remember Bianca was only 1 years old and she did not like that she had to wait in the lobby. Therefore, I left my mother’s side and stood outside the hospital room with Bianca on my hip. I stood on my tip toes…I was very short…still am and Bianca tried peering through the small window into the room.
“That’s our brother, Bianca! Look!” I said.
“That’s our baby?!” she said.
I’m not sure who, but someone stood behind us during this moment. While I cannot locate the picture, one exist of that very moment. I need to find that picture!
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about my brother is BASKETBALL!
In the picture above Daniel is 2 years old. The time stamp is right there in the corner. He has literally been playing basketball ALL of his life. Literally, ALL of his life. To this day, he still plays. Although he plays football too. And sometimes he likes to skateboard as well!
As you can see in the picture below, even his birthday parties were basketball themed. To this day he usually wants the same thing as a gift…. the latest pair of gym shoes.
When my brother was younger, it was so easy to spend time with him. When he was 5 or younger I could just make up silly games, read books with funny voices or pretend I knew anything about basketball. These things would keep him entertained for hours.
Once he was a bit older, so long as I could hold my own in a video game I found I could fill the time as well. But now my brother is becoming a young man and sometimes I struggle with figuring out how to have a relationship of deeper quality and substance with him. That is truly what I want. He’s the only boy. I want our relationship to be so deep. I want him to know that he can talk to me about anything.
I’ve never seen the process of a boy become a man. But having a little brother and watching his birth and watching his dunks and listening to his dreams and watching him evolve and watching him shave and watching him grow…it’s a beautiful thing. It’s a delicate process that should never be taken lightly. Boys become men and the people who surround them sort of shape the type of man they will become.
It is my hope my brother continues to evolve into a man rooted in strenght and character. A man of honor and truth. Perhaps he will marry. Perhaps one day he will be a father. Maybe he’ll play basketball or football or something else altogether. I just hope that whatever he does, he is fully himself..full of integrity, dignity and love.
My brother was only a year younger than my sister. Therefore, they were sort of partners in crime growing up. People often thought they were twins because we’d dress them alike. And I hate to admit this…but because my brother’s hair was as long as my sisters…we’d even do their hair alike. Take for example the photo below. We’d braid or twist both their hair into lots of plaits. Or we’d put both their hair into two pony tails. Poor boy! The things we’d do to him. This picture just brings back so many memories. He’s so precious.
Which…just as he’s strong..he’s also precious too. Just like my sisters. He means the world to me. I only want the best for him. So I’m going to need the little teenage sluts to back down. I’m going to need the whacked out wanna be thugs to back away too. I only want people worthy of my brother to be a part of his life. I am selective. He only deserves the best!
People wondered why we never cut my brothers hair. To this day, we have never cut his hair. The picture below is from a few years ago. We just decided not to. Once he was a teen, my mom told him the decision was up to him and he chose to keep his hair. If strength is tied to it, Daniel beware of Delilah…she comes in all forms. Beware of anything that seeks to take your strength whether that’s in friendships, relationships, temptations, negetivity or fear. Do not let fear and the unknown rob you of the strength I know you have inside.
My brother is intelligent, wise when he wants to be, and has an inquisitive mind. He has an interest in science that I could never understand. When he applies himself the results are more than I can even imagine. Keep doing that Daniel. You only get one chance to live your life, you can’t take anything back….so make it all worth it.
Another one of my favorite memories of my brother was his obsessions with Space Jam. Do you remember that movie? Before he was old enough to know that it cartoons were not real, he believed basketball worked like that. He would spend HOURS practicing these impossible moves because the monsters and bugs bunny were able to do it too. He knew EVERY LINE to the movie and EVERY LYRIC to the songs on the sound track. I remember I used to tell him the characters were not real and that basketball didn’t really work like that.
I take it back Daniel. Even though I just told you that you can’t take anything back. But I take that back. I tried to limit your understanding of the world. Tried to fit something you loved into a box of how it could function. But don’t let anyone put limits on you. If you can imagine it, so let it be!
I haven’t told you this yet Daniel, but just like I take everyone on a birthday trip, I plan on taking you on one for your 16th birthday next year. I know I let everyone pick where they want to go but I really want to go camping for real. Like in a tent! I’m hoping that you pick some fun activity like that. Something in a national park or some hiking expedition. Since silly voices and story reading don’t work anymore, I’m hoping that something like that will suit our fancy, keep up both entertained and allow us the quality time we really need as sister and brother.
I love you Daniel. I remember someone once asking you how many sisters you had. “FOUR!” you said exhausted at the number. “There’s four of us?” I said when I heard you, “Man, and you’re stuck right in the middle.”
No, Daniel you aren’t stuck in the middle of four girls. You are our center. You are our firm foundation and strength. You are at a place of honor to have two sisters on each side of you. You are a prince in training to be a king and we each love you magnificently. Enjoy your birth day and enjoy every day!
Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero. ~Marc Brown
If you want to know how your girl will treat you after marriage, just listen to her talking to her little brother. ~Sam Levenson
After a girl is grown, her little brothers – now her protectors – seem like big brothers. ~Astrid Alauda