For the uninformed, I have two younger brothers. Fortunately for all of you, the three of us are nothing alike. Believe me, my parents are thankful for that as well!
First, the oldest of the two. JD is not quite two years younger than me. Which was great when we were younger, and life then being what it was kept us close. However, as we grew up.... well, lets just say that its never a good idea to date your sibling's friends. Ever. Trust me, that never turns out good for anyone. Friendships don't survive that sort of battle. (Those of you with siblings who did this will totally understand what battle I'm referring to. Those of you without this knowledge, just count yourselves fortunate!) But we've grown up a bit from that point. Mostly. :) Overall, I actually think JD's a good person. He's a great dad, and is one of those rare men out there that actually WANTS a commitment. In fact, he goes looking for it. Its really too bad that he's not finding the women out there that want that as well. *sigh*
But I'll tell you more about him in another post. The purpose of this one is actually to say something about the baby brother.
And yes, he's really our baby brother. He's 10 years younger than I am, and the result of my mother's second marriage (which will also rate its own post, probably, because I totally think my step-dad ROCKS!!! He's my dad in all ways that count, and is just an awesome human being!).
**side note-- its really been more difficult than I imagined it would be to come up with anonymous names for everyone here. First my sons, and now my brothers. JD fits his name, because he's a bull-riding rodeo cowboy, and really-- don't initials fit cowboys rather well? But the baby.... he's a little harder. **
But... back to the story....
The Baby showed up when I was in 5th grade. Apparently, he brought out my future maternal instincts. I would get up with him every night when my mom got up to feed him, just to hold him while I rocked and sang him back to sleep. (Shh... I told him I was up because he was such a loud, screaming baby! It had nothing to do with loving this little baby to distraction. Really.) As he grew up, he used to go everywhere with me, and I'm afraid I was just as guilty as my parents and everyone else of spoiling him shamelessly. My mother likes to remember the story of the year I baked him cupcakes to take to daycare for his birthday. You would think that I would have baked enough for the entire class, right? Not so. I actually baked enough for the entire SCHOOL. Yep... somewhere around 200 cupcakes, I think. (Is it any wonder I hate baking now??) When I was old enough to drive, I used to take him everywhere with me. And The Baby was the first one in my family to meet Coach. (Another side story there..... I tease Coach that if only he'd been not as nice to The Baby, he never would have ended up married to me and saddled with Jock and The Bug!) As The Baby grew up, I watched him go through Jr. High and High School, treating Jock the same way I used to treat him. The Baby had girlfriends I never thought were good enough. Friends I just knew would get him into too much trouble. Shining moments in high school sports. It occurred to me that watching him was a good way to prepare (at least a little) for raising Jock. Then I watched him graduate high school, and go off to basic training for the Navy, graduating there having set some new base records and to seemingly have grown up over the course of 8 weeks or so.
And then he set off for the world on a ship. An aircraft carrier, to be exact. One that took him straight into the heart of a war that no one wanted to see anyone in. We watched The Baby become a Man. We worried over him. We sent him packages filled with love and fun stuff. And then we got to watch him come home, a better person than he'd ever been. Folks, unless you've had a soldier come home from battle, you won't really understand that. But its true. It matures them in a way that most of us will never be able to realize, and gives the lucky ones a much more tolerant view of the differences in people.
Well, the point of all of this is really just to say Happy Birthday to The Baby. He turned 24 yesterday. I've never been more proud to be his big sister than I am today. And really for no other reason that the man that he's become over the years. He hasn't done anything remarkable or newsworthy (at least, that he can talk about!). He hasn't changed the world for all of mankind. He's just changed the world for one woman, who loves him as only a sister can. From dirty diapers, through a potty mouthed teenager, to the man he is today.
I'm really going to have to come up with another name. The Baby just doesn't fit anymore. :)