Eighteen years ago I remember standing in my parents’ kitchen, anxiously watching my mother pace back and forth in labor with who was to be my first and only brother.
Over the course of the last 18 years I have grown to love him more than I ever imagined or could begin to explain. Our twelve year age difference proved to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. I loved him the second he arrived. I had the privilage of watching him be a tiny tot. First steps and endless airplane rides. He spent hundreds of hours in our high school gym as my number one fan at sporting events. He cheered me on and memorized team rosters at the age of three. He gave the best high fives after victories, and the sweetest hugs after losses. He never complained when we dressed him up in girlie clothes for school projects. He danced and knew the words to songs he shouldn’t have been listening to, but did because he had four older sisters. He was a great travel buddy and weekend visitor later when I had moved away from home. The roles were then reversed when his love for sports took up his time. You could find me in the bleachers screaming at the top of my lungs and fetching him Gatorade. And, now, he is an amazing young man with mountains of talent and a bright future ahead of him. He is a phenomenal uncle to our boys and although we are not as close as we were when we were younger I hope he knows that I love him more than he could possibly understand.
Happy Birthday, Mikey. I love you more no matter what you say. I love you more than a fat kid loves cake times infinity plus two no matter what you say. Da Bears. Go Cubbies.
Michael, I remember taking this picture and thinking I would share it with the world on your 18th birthday. I just didn't know it would come so quickly.