Monday, January 30, 2012

Someone to Look Up To

I must have been 7, 8 years old that summer.  Mom has a baby on her hip and chats animatedly with a downtown store owner.  My brother and I, stair steps, wait anxiously for her to make her purchase (gum!) and share it with us.  Boring grown up conversation buzzes overhead as I fixate on the pack of gum on the counter.  So close yet so far!  A comment breaks through my reverie, and I look up.

"Are they twins?"  The store owner and my mom are now looking down at my brother and me.  Twins!  What an outrage.  I pull myself up to my full height as Mom answers "no, they are two years apart."  My brother has blue eyes and sandy blond hair.  I'm dark - hair, eyes.  Who could possibly mistake us for twins?  He grins at me and I roll my eyes.

On that day, I was taller.  Over the years, as we grew, one would be taller, than the other, until finally one day I stopped growing and he just kept right on, leaving me behind.  The first of many ways I'd be left when he went onward.

I returned from college and married, stayed put in this little town.  He went off, first to college then marriage, onward again to Medical School.  Throughout the years our closeness ebbed and flowed.  I had babies, lots of them.  He had tests to study for on a faraway island.  Whenever we were together, however, its like time had stood still.  His easygoing personality and quick, effortless smile always set me at ease.  And, despite the different twists and turns this life of mine has taken, he has always been encouraging, supportive, proud.

Many prayers were answered when he secured a clinical site here in Michigan, close enough to live in our hometown if only for a little while.  And though I'm knee deep in homeschooling and housework and he's spending long hours at the hospital, time is made.  He stops at our house, a midway point, when he goes for a run.  Just enough time for a quick chat, kisses for the kids, and then off again.  He visits my parents next door and sends me a text to meet him.  His personality warms up the whole room and his laugh bounces off the walls like so many times before.

One day last week, we get the call.  A baby, his first, made her way into the world.  Seeing him as a father has only cemented in my mind the extent of his character - a man who passionately loves his family with bright, unyielding ferocity.  Someone who knows where his center is, who knows what and who matters most.  Someone who is wholly untouched by egotism, a man who knows that love is not weak and humble service is the true path to greatness.

Someone for me to look up to.

And as I watch him hold his infant daughter close, I know its all true.  His lips touch her forehead and from this side of the room I can see it, his life laid out in one radical act of love.  He inspires me every day to reach for something better.

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  1. Sweet, sweet post, and so well-written.

  2. Beautiful... and congratulations to your family.

  3. Just beautiful, absolutely beautiful. You have such an amazing family.

  4. This is a wonderful tribute. It makes me thankful for the volunteer siblings I have collected along life's journey, since I'm technically an only child.


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