Thursday, February 23, 2012

Happy Birthday, My Broe-thair!

When I was three years old, my dad was discharged from active duty in the Air Force.  We were living in North Dakota, and my mom was having a baby.  My grandparents took me and my younger brother home to Utah with them for a "visit."  I don't remember really wondering why we were going.  Mostly I remember the small pillows on the plane.

One day Grandma and Grandpa said we were going to go to the airport and watch the planes.  While we watched out one of the windows, Mama stepped out of the plane onto the stairs (before jetways, you know), carrying our new baby brother in an infant seat.  I knew we were going to have a Derek or a Kristin, but I didn't know it was going to be NOW.

That was the first time I saw my brother, Derek.  He grew to be a fearless boy:  he would try anything, and doing so sometimes landed him in the window well or splattered on the concrete.  One of the Derek's "boo-boos" when he was about 8 was what helped me decide NOT to be a doctor.

Derek was also a huge tease, and of all of my siblings, he was the one I most often wanted to KILL.

Once when I was a junior in high school I was up late, studying for a biology test.  My room was next to the bathroom, and he saw my light on.  It was about 11:00 p.m., and he came in and asked if he could help me study.  He sat there with my flashcards till I had it all down pat, and I think we went to bed around 1:00 a.m.

One day the following year (or so), he pushed every button I had.  I got him cornered in Mom and Dad's room, and I ended up smacking him (open-handed) across the face.  I doubt it hurt him as much as it surprised him, but it knocked him to his knees, and he was instantly in tears.  The action nearly broke my heart, and I instantly remembered our late-night study session.  The incident seemed to be a turning point for us.  He didn't push me so far, and I didn't let it get to me so easily.

After Derek came home from his mission, he lived with us (me and Spencer and our three-going-on-four children) for a while.  It was then that I came to adore the MAN Derek.  He was helpful.  He was thankful.  He was generous.  He was happy.  The neighborhood kids would come to the door to see if "Uncle Derek" could come out and play, and he always did.  He was engaged by the time Ashtyn was born, though he was still living with us.  When the doctor said it was time for me to push, he left the delivery room, but stood just outside.  The door was open, but the curtains were drawn.   The doctor said, "OK, give me a big push," and Derek called out, "C'mon, Aud, you can do it!"  He was the first family member allowed back in the room, and he thought Ashtyn and I were all that.
Derek married a woman who became someone really incredible.  She is and always has been a strength to him, and they are dear friends who adore each other and their family. 

Today my little brother has a birthday.  I loved him as a baby, I loved him as a child, I loved him as a teen, but I absolutely ADORE him as a man.  He is a good as they come, and I am so thankful that we are eternal siblings and friends!

Happy birthday, Derek!


Amy said...

This makes me unreasonably happy. Can Uncle Derek come play at my house?