In honor of my little brother’s 16th birthday (yesterday), I wanted to share some of my fondest memories and pictures of him (that I have on my laptop, because I am sure there are better ones around our house in Alabama).
My first memory of my brother is in the hospital room where we first met. I remember being SUPER excited about my little brother, and I couldn’t wait to meet him. I remember seeing how tiny he was, and laughing when my mom changed his diaper and he peed everywhere–as I’d never really seen a baby boy get his diaper changed, this was something totally new to me 😉 I remember how my sister couldn’t say Houston, and created what would become his life-long nickname: Hoopi. I remember taking a nap with him and my sister on a cot a nurse brought us, and I also remember not wanting to leave the hospital–I wanted to spend every second with this new creature who had joined our family… Who knew this little baby, precious baby would grow up to be such a fantastic and special young man.
When we were little, I remember Houston wanting to do EVERYTHING me and my sister wanted to do. He wanted to paint his nails with us–and not any color, oh no, he wanted the bright red that we were painting our finger nails; he could not resist not putting on lipstick if one of us girls was putting it on, and he definitely could not stand to just sit by and watch us play Barbies–he always joined in, even if it was only with the Ken doll me and my sister could live without. He also LOVED to play dress-up with us, and before he moved on to his Woody phase, from Toy Story, where he would dress up in his Woody outfit and play on his guitar for us, he had a crazy obsession with a Tinkerbell outfit that my sister had outgrown. What I would give to have a picture of him in that bright, lime green tutu. What a hoot it was to see him run around in that…
As he got older, he stopped wanting to participate in “girl” things and moved on to Hot Wheels and plastic army men that he would methodically line up around our house (and oh how I wanted to curse them when I’d step on those army men and it felt as if they’d declared war on the sole of my foot). He started to play t-ball, and baseball, and he would spend every hour he could playing outside, running through the house, or setting up his army men.
I also remember when he couldn’t live without a Krispy Kreme doughnut and also when he found out they “made you fat,” and wouldn’t go near one. I remember when he only wanted to eat ham and turkey cubes, and getting him to eat a vegetable was torture. I remember how much he loved our cat Smokey (who was twice his size, but let Houston lug him around freely), and how sad he was when found out Smokey had died (only later to find out my mom had mistaken a run over opossum for our dearly loved cat).
I remember, too, how Houston liked to remember things about himself that weren’t true. His most infamous fake memory was that of being alive when our Husky dog had puppies. Oh how I used to argue with him about that “memory.” Mom lovingly made us accept his “memory” until he was old enough to understand he really wasn’t a part of that memory.
I remember when he became obsessed with the weather and would walk around spouting off the weather in various parts of the world, and would command us to take cover whenever there was the threat of bad weather.
I remember when he started memorizing sports statistics and decided the Boston Red Sox would be his favorite baseball team.
I also remember the time we went bike riding with my dad and I accidentally ran over him with my bike–ooops! And, he forgave me like the good brother he is (after many tears were shed and the tire tracks had faded from his back).
I remember when he stayed a weekend with me at UA and we watched Star Wars all night, and the times we’ve gone to UA football games together.
I remember when he became very conscious of having his hair styled perfectly, and was offended if you even thought of messing his hair up.
I remember when he covered the brick wall behind our pool with paintballs and thought his life was over, and the time he dropped his 3rd iPhone down the stairs while trying to turn on some music.
I remember the time we found a shark fin on the beach with our cousin Mitchell and screamed from excitement–and the time Houston and Mitchell ignored my mom’s warnings about feeding the seagulls and they almost became the seagull’s lunch themselves.
And, the collection of memories I have from all our family trips are uncountable–our trips to the beach, our trips to Gatlinburg, our trip to San Antonio, and Arkansas with my grandparents, our trips to Chattanooga, and our trip around Europe.
Most of all, though, I remember how good of a brother he has always been to me and my sister. He has always been sweet, caring, loving, understanding, fun, and ready to have a good time. I couldn’t have picked a better person to have as my brother, and I am so thankful that God gave him to me as a sibling.
Even if you do like to wear shorts in 15 degree weather, and can be obsessive with your sports video games, I love you more than peanut butter loves jelly, and that’s a WHOLE lot! I can’t wait to see you again, and am thoroughly looking forward to having you drive me around as an official Alabama driver 🙂