Friday, May 02, 2008
Happy birthday Josh
My baby brother turns eighteen today. I just can't wrap my mind around it. Just the other day he was a little baby and I was changing his diaper, laughing at all the funny things he used to do and marveling at his intelligence. And now, he is this tall, slim, handsome, articulate, polite, friendly and talented young man. That drives. Cringe. With a new car. Yep, the parents went out and bought him a new car.
I guess I just figured he would stay a little boy forever. Being a late-in-life baby for my mom, he has brought us more joy than any of us could have expected. When mom found out she was pregnant, she cried. Having two children in their teens, just about ready to graduate high school and one in elementary school, about to enter adolescence...it was just too much for mom. But we quickly embraced the idea of a new baby.
I've said this before, Josh was my baby before I had my babies. I would come home from class and while my stepdad left to work swing shift, I would take care of him. He was always a good boy, always entertaining. At the young age of eighteen months, he had to wear glasses. So here was this cute little boy with a mullet, wearing glasses. He got attention everywhere we went.
When I moved back to Riverside and was ready to have my first baby, Josh and I resumed our caretaker relationship again. I would take care of him after school and all day during the summer. Everyday would find me laying on my side like a beached whale, sweltering in the heat...and Josh would be sitting in the little space on the sofa behind my legs. He would watch cartoons and take care of me, sometimes putting cool towels on my forehead, or on my fat, swollen feet. He was with me every summer, with each of my children, helping me while I was pregnant. Until he began to actually help me care for mine. He would cook for us, entertain the chil'rens outside, he'd let me take a nap. When I realized that last summer was going to be our last together...it made me sad. No naps, no cooked meals, none of his motivational speeches...no really, I was sad that we would not be together doing nothing but roast in the heat and talk and laugh just like we've done for the past eleven years.
I feel an enormous swell of pride everytime I see what an awesome example of a young man he has grown into. A born entertainer, with a beautiful voice and acting chops. Wow, I am amazed. It may seem a little melodramatic to say that he touches the lives of the people he meets, but it's true. I will be overjoyed if any of my sons turn out to be half the young man my little brother has become.
Have you ever had one of those moments when you see a person for who they really are? About a month ago, I was pulling out of my street and Josh was pulling in. We both stopped and rolled down the window to talk. And for a second, I saw him for what he is...not the chubby little boy with glasses but a handsome young man driving a nice car that was able to turn heads. And I felt the hysteria welling up inside, like noooooo, he's all grown up! Where did the years go? It was an eye-opening moment for me, thinking about him turning eighteen, graduating and soon going off to college.
I'm still trying to persuade him to go to school locally. I just don't think the folks would be able to cope without him. Or me, for that matter. Life would be so boring without him. My girls were really missing him when he went to Florida, so if he went away to school they would really be devastated. They really love them some uncle Josh. I've already trained them to be mean to any girl he brings home. Heh.
What can I say? No one will ever be good enough for my little brother. Happy birthday, baby boy! I love you so very much.
This is what I meant by the cute little boy with glasses and a mullet. Business in the front, party in the back! But look at that little face.
On a whale watching trip when he was 6 and I was 24. This was my baby boy before I had four of my own.
Josh, the girls and his new whip. I've already warned him about skanks wanting rides. Heh.
On my birthday...he looked so handsome!