I pride myself on usually being able to come up with pretty thoughtful gifts for my friends and family. I like to go beyond what some may thing is sensible or wise to really make people feel special. And as my brother’s birthday loomed closer and closer last week, I found myself lacking any really good ideas on what I could buy him that would really describe how I felt about his role in my own life, his recent marriage, and his general circumstances that have given him much peace.
I laid awake late Saturday night, knowing that I would see him the next morning, and had nothing at all but a full heart to give. So I wrote.
And with his gracious permission, this is what I gave him for his 26th birthday:
Your birthday is here, and I seem remiss
Almost empty handed, save solely for this:
At an ungodly hour, scratched out on a page
Due service to celebrate this upcoming age.
I pondered what I might possibly buy
That might not be stuff to just toss aside.
Or money to commemorate the anniversary day,
But none of these things would serve to convey
The memories that rush over me in powerful waves…
A sister to a brother in much simpler days
Passed by in a breath of bickering, confiding,
Building, destroying, consoling, contriving
Nothing more than laughing and dreaming
Nothing better than playing and scheming.
I wept for you when your heart was breaking,
As you did for me, when my life I was taking.
Where would I be, if not for your care?
What would have you done if I were not there?
Consider this my one gift to you:
An open ended I-O-U.
For days to come, if you’re ever in need,
Or want, or wish, or desire with greed
For babysitting your handsome brood
Or listening to a rant about your foul mood.
Your dear mother’s love will never expire
Your wife is your companion, your playmate, your fire
To be just your sister, to witness you grow
Means much more to me than you’ll ever know.
I found myself more than a little weepy as I wrote; and I could tell as he read, he was affected too. And I am so completely grateful for all of my family. Today, I am celebrating my brother Josh.