Some days are prouder than others

I was at home last week. I always love going home and I’ve come to count on being at home over Memorial Day weekend. It is always a nice way to recharge, and I get to spend time with my family.

This past week, I went home for a different reason, besides the usual recharge and getting to spend time with my family. This past week, my younger brother graduated from high school. 

It was a busy few days for me. The day before we left for home, Friday, my sister, one of my friends, and I went to Lagoon, the local amusement park. Every year, the company I work for rents out the whole park and all the employees get to go for free. Friday was Lagoon Day, and I had the whole day off work. We were at the park from about 3 pm until 10 pm. It was so much fun. We rode all the rides, and all had a ton of fun. Saturday we all left for Montana. My friend was going to Yellowstone to camp with some people from church. Ann and I were headed to Billings. He rode with us until West Yellowstone, and then we went on to Billings. We left Salt Lake around 7:30. We finally arrived in Billings around 4:30. It was a long day of driving, but it wasn’t too terrible.

Sunday was graduation. It was in the early afternoon. As all the graduates walked into the arena, and more specifically, as my brother walked in, I admit I started crying. It was so surreal to see him old enough to be graduating. It seemed like he would always be my younger brother, so little. But now, right in front of me, was the exact opposite. We all hollered and hooted as he climbed the stage and took his diploma. We are all proud of his accomplishment, and I know he is too.

As I thought about what I wanted to write about on this, I kept thinking back about how I didn’t ever think my brother would get here. Now, I don’t mean that in a dismal way, I mean I couldn’t picture it happening. I had a hard time picturing it for myself. My brother always seemed like he would be the baby. He’s proved now that he isn’t anymore. I also thought back on how he has grown up to this point.

This is what I thought of.

I remember vividly the first time I met my brother. He was born in the middle of the night, so we all got to go see him on our way to school the next day. I remember I was wearing a red jacket and had my backpack on as I half leaned, half sat on the edge of my mom’s hospital bed, holding my teeny, tiny brother. He was so tiny. We got to say hello, and then had to go off to school. The next memory I have is the first time he fell asleep in my arms. I was sitting on the couch, watching TV and holding the baby. I looked down, and he was fast asleep. I was so proud of myself, I made the baby go to sleep!

Over the years, it’s just silly things he did and said that stick out. The weird words he said wrong, the completely hilarious things he would say, and things he liked and did. We were convinced that he would only eat toast and mashed potatoes for the rest of his life at one point.

But one thing I don’t know is how he became 18. I think it’s because I moved out when he was like 10, so in my head, he will perpetually be 10. He’s definitely not. He is definitely now an adult. Time is a weird thing.

He started a new job this past week. Last night, he told me he had to be at work at 6:30 this morning, something he didn’t think he would be able to do and wasn’t looking forward to. I woke up early this morning to ask him if he was able to get up on time for work. He was up and got to work just fine. It was so weird to be talking to my little brother about his job.

As I watched him walk across that stage to collect his diploma, I had a brief flashback of a few moments of my little brother being, well, little. I guess he isn’t my “little” brother anymore, he is now my younger brother. He’s not a puppy anymore.

I’m proud of you for graduating, Chris, well done.

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