This week I have been immersed in photos… on the computer, in a photo book, and on photo boards (aka my “smiling multicultural earth conscious college student” poster boards- long story- covered in kraft paper, and then pics.. so many different uses for those things!). Why? Because this weekend is my youngest brother’s high school graduation.
I’ve been mentally preparing for this day for a long time, especially over the past year as I’ve come out of denial over the whole thing. Pretty much whenever I think about it, my throat gets tight and my eyes sting, it is ridiculous!! I didn’t have this much trouble when the other 2 brothers graduated.. gonna chalk this up to a “youngest sibling” thing.
The problem is Jacob is still 2 years old, definitely not old enough to be graduating. He’s sharing a room with me and boogering up my walls… playing “stop hitting yourself!” type games with me after lights out… sneaking out early in the morning to wedge himself into my “me time” as I read a book in the living room chair… and running to hide behind my legs when he gets in trouble with dad or mom.
He is also definitely 7 years old, with sticking out hair and holey jeans, complaining endlessly about how his socks are not comfortable in his shoes, playing with Legos, absorbing a little too much of Calvin and Hobbes, making goofy faces with me across the school table when mom’s not watching, and flooding our basement while hosing down a frog in the open window well.
And he’s still 11 also, with those chubby cheeks he kinda hated but my friends all loved, freckles, and a drive-you-crazy-but-melt-your-heart quality to him that persists to this day… wearing the same holey and eventually bloody-nose-stained t-shirt all 3 days and nights of Bible quizzing regionals because that’s all he “packed”.. additionally he’s twelve and sending his sister hilarious misspelled emails at college about mice and endless boredom and mom’s disgusting breakfast cereal.
And he’s still 14, and trying to cope with a world where the rug had been pulled out from under his feet. I took many a difficult phone call from him where I just didn’t know what to say… I tried to stick with him as well as I could, and give him fun things and stuff to look forward to and new family traditions.. but regardless, he had a lot of hard stuff to navigate during the not-so-easy-anyway teen years.
And now he’s turning 18 and graduating, all in the same weekend, and what do you know, by God’s grace he is honest, caring, kind, funny, smart, brave, cool, and extremely talented. He didn’t have to turn out so great but he has. Not that he is perfect; he’s hanging in there.
J is one of my favorite people to hang out with. He never fails to make me smile and laugh helplessly. His text messages are always a highlight of my day… even when they come at 12:00 midnight my time. His prayers are heartfelt and spoken with humility. His lingo is one of the most unique things, ever. And his hair… well… it’s… yeah. 😉
Things I love to do with him: besting him at fishing; going to movies; messing around in Walmart; taking goofy pictures; kicking him out of the kitchen; having a fake yelling argument with him; exchanging quotes from our favorite TV shows; replying to his zillion and two questions with untruthful answers because he is wonderfully gullible, as a youngest brother should be; and of course giving him the classic “PAINTBRUSH!!!” in Christian love. (Because I’m a Christian and I love to do it, as BK always says.)
I love all my brothers so much and I am happy to have a special friendship with each of them as we are all getting older (but not necessarily growing up). I know I’m blessed to have this funny guy named Jacob in my life!
And yes I will be sure to pack the Kleenex this weekend. (In case I get a Rudolph nose. So I don’t get my one T-shirt all disgusting. And so I don’t have to smear my boogerth on the wall. And yes I can hear your response right now, J dawg: “Get off this!” Pretty bamtastic how I can read your mind, right? Huzzah!)