Today is my brother, Mark’s, birthday. He turns 26 today…only 16 months younger than me. He is engaged to Cammie and they have a beautiful, sweet baby girl named Racheal who is 8 months old.
I happen to have a fantastic memory, so I’m able to recall moments of us playing together when we were very young. I’d say I was probably 3 and he was 1 1/2 when my first memories take place. He was such a fun kid. Always up for anything and was so funny! He always made me laugh and helped me chill out (I was (am) a little high strung). Since we were so close in age, I have a ton of memories. Some of them include:
- Watching him fall down the stairs in his baby walker and laughing because I thought it looked funny. Luckily, he was fine…tough kid.
- We had a space heater and his favorite stuffed animal, his Snuggle bear, got singed.
- We loved climbing the apricot tree in our backyard. It probably wasn’t even an apricot tree, but we always sung Popcorn Popping while we were sitting up in it. One day his coat got stuck on a branch and he was unable to climb down. He just hung there and I thought it was HYSTERICAL. After a while of laughing I finally went inside to tell my mom.
- We loved exploring together when we visited my Grandparent’s house up in the California mountains. We found treasures, played with the dog, and swung on the tree swing. One year, when I was 10 and he was 8 1/2 he and I were visiting my grandparents (just the two of us). It was fun spending that one-on-one time with him. I ended up getting really homesick and would confide in him. I remember him saying, “Don’t worry, I know it’s hard. But it’ll be okay.” He was really understanding and was cool with going home early even though he was having a good time.
- He went through a phase when he was mean and hit our little sister. This would upset me so one night I typed this note on the typewriter (I was 9, he was 7 1/2). “Dear Mark, I want you to know that I can see everything youre doing to your sisters. I do not want to see you not coming home to happiness. I love you dearly. Signed, Your Father in Heven.” I don’t think it made an impact…
- Many times when I was practicing the piano he would do anything he could to distract me. He’d bang on the keys and try to make me laugh. He made up a scary song where he played two really high notes very slowly, then it got faster and faster until finally, he banged on the very low notes. He’d also pretend my electronic metronome was a time bomb. He’d set the tempo really high, then pressed the button so it made a buzzing sound as he threw it into the living room as he was hurling himself out trying to escape the explosion. It always made me laugh.
- We liked to watch movies together at home and in the theatre. One time we went together to see The Fast and The Furious and I thought it was really cool that we were doing something fun together, even though we were teenagers and should be “too cool” for that.
- I let him borrow my car one night when he was 16 to take his then girlfriend out on a special date. I went to bed and he came into my room sometime in the middle of the night and said, “Julie, I was in an accident.” My first thoughts and words were, “Are you okay??!!” I remember that it kind of surprised me that I wasn’t concerned about my car at all. I mean, I was 18 and it was my new car that I had just bought with my own money! But I was truly concerned about him being hurt. And, by-the-way, Mark, you still owe me $500.00…;)
Some other notable things about Mark now:
- I’ve always thought he looks so handsome in a suit.
- He is a great uncle. He always tries to talk to and listen to his nieces and nephews. He has a sincere interest in their lives. There are a couple of young crazy boys who love to wrestle and he tries to do it whenever he can, even when his bad back aches.
- He really loves his fiancé and daughter. He looks out for them and is trying to give them a great life surrounded with family and love. And it’s so cute that he and his daughter give each other the same ornery look!
- I’ve always been impressed with how thoughtful he is of others. He gives my mom hugs, talks at length to my dad about subjects that interest him, is protective of his sisters, and is a genuine GREAT guy.
Happy Birthday, Mark!! I love you!!