Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Ben is 30
My brother turned 30 last week, which officially makes me almost 30. The weird part about that is that I am o.k. turning 30. I don't fear it, or look forward to it, instead, it is just a number for me. I think that I feel this way because I don't have, like many friends my age, anything big looming over me. I am lucky enough to be settled down, married, and have two kids. When I look at old pictures like this, though, I have to admit that I am feeling a little old. My brother Ben is two years older than me, and we had that sort of childhood that most kids dream about. We lived on a ranch our whole lives, played outside barefoot all day, built forts, played army, had pets, and had parents that loved each other. We ate dinner as a family each night (after holding hands to say grace), and went to church every Sunday. The standout figure in my childhood, though, is Ben. We played hard, fought hard, and loved each other as much as we annoyed each other. He was the inevitable leader of the four kids, and because of that, was always the coolest. We wanted to be doing whatever he was doing. He would make us swords, take us in the hills, and lead us through adventures. I remember us all laughing and roughhousing, running around wild until mom called us in for dinner. When we reached high school, though, we began to grow apart. He joined the Army after graduation, and although I acted like I did not care, I remember crying harder than I had ever cried before. The world as I knew it would never be the same. Ben was gone. I had never gone more than a few days without seeing Ben, and now he was across the country in some boot camp. I could not believe that he had actually gone. I missed him terribly. He was stationed all around the country during his Army years, and served in Bosnia for an entire year. He was gone that Christmas, and our holiday was not the same. We just could not seem to celebrate with all of our hearts the way we were used to. His duty to our nation was finished shortly before the Iraq war was started. He sustained a head injury during training. I remember my mom calling me to let me know that he was in the hospital with a brain injury. I was shocked, and scared. Around the same time that I met John, Ben had come back into my life, this time as a friend. I prayed that he would be alright. After a few years of recovery, he seems back to normal aside from his horrible headaches. He is married now, and although we don't get to see each other as much as we would like to, I feel closer than ever to him. Ben has a sense of humor, and an outlook on life that I wish everyone had (although I am not sure if "naked on a beanbag eating Cheetos" is a joke just anyone can pull off). He can laugh at any situation, and can talk with an open mind with me about any subject. He is smart, adventurous, helpful, and caring. Oh yeah, and he is still cool. I believe that he, like my other brother and sister, share the experience of our childhood, share the same type of heart, and share a love that is so deep that nothing could disrupt it. I love my brother, I thank him for his service to our country, and I thank him for making my childhood so special. Happy Birthday.