October 25 is John's birthday. Since he is my MOST favorite brother, I feel badly that I didn't get something written for him on his actual birthday. Does it help my case of behindness that I have had 2 kids with strep in the last 4 days? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I am here today to write a bit about my brother, John.
I sometimes feel badly that John is the only boy. He was mothered more than he probably wishes, smothered is probably a better way to describe how we cared for John as he was growing up. We styled, dressed, teased, and questioned him WAY more than boys care for, but he was always so good about our type of "love". I guess to end the year of birthday tributes, I want to do something a little differently for John. I have a few favorite memories of John that pretty much sum up everything I love about him. But if my stories (and they may be a little lengthy, so be prepared) don't express how I feel about my brother, John is truly one in a million. That may sound trite, but it it honestly the truth. You will see what I mean...
As you can imagine, John would get bored with all the girls at our house and would be a bit desperate for someone to play with at times. He knew I would agree to play with him if we played the "torture game". (This says so much about him and so little about me!) I would stuff him in a hamper and sit on the hamper, make some kind of concoction for him to drink--the base was ALWAYS pickle juice--and then lock him in a room until he drank the whole glass. All kinds of horrific things that I thought were so funny and clever. He would just play along and be glad for someone to play with--he is ALWAYS a good sport about whatever his sisters have in mind.
When John was 12, I was 17. We were having a Halloween dance at church for families, so even the 12-year-olds were allowed to come. John and some of his friends weren't asking anyone to dance and spending way too much time at the refreshments table and drinking fountain. I told them there were lots of girls who would be thrilled to dance with any one of them. Next thing I know, John has asked a little 8-year-old girl to dance--very safe move. I told John that although I was proud of him for asking her to dance, I was thinking of all the girls holding up the walls who were closer to his age. Finally, he and his friends started asking some of the girls to dance and they were all having a good time. True to any dance, there were more girls than boys, so there were always a few of the girls not dancing. On the very last dance all those boys went and got all the girls and they all danced together in a big circle. It looked pretty funny since it was a slow song and I got quite a laugh out the whole thing. As John and I were leaving, I asked if he had fun. He said he had and of course I told him it was all thanks to me since I "strongly" encouraged him to dance. I then said something to this affect, "What was the deal with the last song?" "The idea is to dance with just ONE girl, not all of them." John replied, "Do you remember the Campbell's Soup commercial where the little red head girl goes home from the dance early because no one asked her to dance?" I said I did remember. And then John said, "I just didn't want any of those girls to feel like that, so we decided to ask them all." I remember being amazed that this boy would even consider something like that at his age. But that was so typical of John. I remember him spending his own money on earrings for my birthday because he was sure I would love them.
Just before I left to serve a mission, my life had gotten a little complicated and messy because of choices I had made. I was confused about my future and what I wanted and didn't know what direction to take in many ways. I came home after classes at USU (Go Aggies!) one afternoon and I was crying--a lot. I left for work a complete mess. I got home around midnight and could hear John's alarm going. I went in his room and he was sitting up in his bed. I told him that he had set his alarm wrong and that I would reset it for him, to just go back to bed. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and said, "No, I meant to set the alarm for now." "I knew you would be getting home from work and I just wanted to make sure you were okay." I still get teary thinking about that one. That meant the world to me. I needed to know that in spite of the craziness I had created, someone was still there to make sure I was going to be okay.
When John was about 13, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor called a calcified blood vessel. He had started having seizures and was put on medication to control the seizures. This maintained things quite well for several years with just minor breakthroughs occasionally. John was pretty quiet about all of this, very few of the kids he went to school with even knew what he dealt with. The end of his junior year, he decided to run for SBO. During his speech he had a petite mal seizure. When this happened to John, he would just mumble and his leg or arm would shake. All the kids in the auditorium watched it happen. But because not many of them knew about John's seizures, they all thought that John was being funny and they laughed. John won the election and I don't think he ever told many people what had actually happened. He didn't complain and ask for another chance or ask for anyone's sympathy--he just moved on. Things got A LOT worse and John finally had surgery a while after he got home from his mission. He had wires connected to his brain and had his head cut open. He was so full of faith and hope through it all, he truly inspired me.
John just finished his class work for his MBA this month and will graduate with his Master's Degree in December. He married the most fabulous girl and has two beautiful daughters who adore their Dad. The feeling is quite mutual--John is a great dad--I love watching him talk to his girls. And who better to be a dad to little girls?! John is patient, kind, helpful, sincere, smart and wonderful.
So I hope you all have a glimpse of why I love John the way I do. I think Heavenly Father only sent one boy to our house because he would have been the favorite either way, no reason to ruin some other boys life, right?
Love you, John.
Summer Tie Dye
10 months ago