I have always looked up to the bold, righteous figure of my older brother. When I was younger, my only form of admiration was mimicry: cutting and combing my hair the same way, listening to Bush/Dave Matthews/u2 or any other cds I stole out of his cd case, and wearing the same clothes (seriously. The same clothes. I would take them out of his closet.). As I grew older and carved my own niche, I've been able to more fully realize the things it was I really admired about him, like his hard work ethic and his full devotion to providing care and support for everyone around him.
Admittedly, it wasn't always peachy. Many of the lessons that we learned together growing up came with a heavy hand. I would highly recommend that nobody here ever call him JoJo or Jonboy, take his cds without asking, or sneak into his closet after he's left for school to find cooler clothes. These are all lessons I learned MANY times, and my repentance was often called upon by the strong retaliation of an older, physically superior brother who could take me down in a flash. I simply cannot count the number of times I pressed buttons until I received a response, and boy... we got in a lot of trouble.
I learned a valuable lesson, though, because when we would fight, my mom would send us to our separate rooms until Dad got home, at which point we'd both be brought before the patriarch of the house to explain our case. I can't think of a single time I was ever thrown under the bus or left out to dry. We were in trouble, but we were in it together, and countless times my brother showed me the definition of brotherly love by sticking up for me. One time, we'd been sent to our separate rooms to 'think about what we'd done' while our parents sat downstairs and stressed about how two brothers could get along so poorly. We both huddled around our respective bedroom heat vents, and conversed through them until we'd reached a peace agreement that worked. We walked downstairs to our parents, and calmly explained that everything was fine, and we'd worked out a healthy peace agreement.
A simple tale, but it has stuck with me. Jonathan, you have shown me what it means to love your family, what it means to work hard for what you want, and that everything will work out in the end. Nobody I know can joke like we can, and nobody I know can pick up trash in the yard like we can.
Sigh. I've re-written this whole thing twice, and these static words still seem to lack the true emotion for what I feel. Thank you, brother, thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for not letting Jesse Mcguire beat me up in school. Thank you for not beating me up when I broke your first portable cd player. Thank you for helping teach me how to drive. Thank you for helping me move to Ephraim. Thank you for never judging or condemning me. Thank you for marrying an awesome girl from an awesome family. Thank you for being a real man and raising a family with honor. Thank you for having empathy to the world around you. Thank you for devoting your life and time to helping complete strangers with your work at the hospital. Thank you for always making me laugh.
Dude. I love ya. Our lives are rich with the history two brothers have created, and sooner than we think, we're going to be the image we've always had of our father's generation, all chewing the cud around the dining room table long after the meal has been put away. I look forward to growing old and always knowing I've got you and our family with me. Just like the multiple times you've thrown bullies off me at school, I'm happy to know my brother will always have my back.