Family is one of those things I’m really never sure how to handle… but I know that no matter what they will always be my family.
We encourage each other.
We disagree with each other.
I don’t come from a huge family with tons of siblings and cousins and extended relatives.
Growing up it was always just me and my two brothers + occasional visits, phone calls and packages from the rest of my family who all lived out of state.
I wanted to dedicate the next two blog posts to my brothers – Shaun and Matthew. As much as we differ on so many things, to know them is to know me. I have more memories of times with them than I have childhood memories to begin with. They were a constant in my life.
This post will be about Shaun.
I adored my older brother Shaun. We are approximately 1 year and 10 months apart.
I may not have shown it as obviously when I was a teen, but nearly ALL of my memories of Shaun are fond and put a smile on my face.
He was someone I looked up to. He was someone I knew would be there for me. I remember thinking he could do anything he wanted. I always saw him teaching history to middle-schoolers or high-schoolers…. while coaching football and basketball on the side, of course. 🙂
The specific thoughts I remember having about him included admiring how gentle he was, how compassionate and understanding he was, how athletic and confident he was, and how smart and funny he was. He always listened to me. He always had my back. He filled in the best he could when our dad walked out on us. He was my irreplaceable big brother.
This is me and him when we were little:
He was always making funny faces like that. 🙂
Sometimes we would fight, but what healthy and normal siblings don’t?? One of my favorite memories is from when I was about 13 years old. Our family was walking near this Prairie Dog park in Lawton, OK near our house. Shaun and I started fighting (about what I haven’t the faintest memory!) and our “punishment” was that we had to walk home holding hands.
Of course, my mom snapped a picture. The funny thing is that my love language is physical touch. I didn’t know this was my love language at the time, but my reaction to this “punishment” then now makes perfect sense. Not only was any anger I had towards my brother quickly abated by simply holding his hand (ask Chad the easiest way for him to solve our marital arguments! haha) – but I felt a hidden sense of pride. I got to hold the hand of my older brother who I looked up to. What my mom didn’t know, is that I secretly didn’t mind at all. 🙂
Here is a picture of all three of us. Don’t mind the hand-me-down Goodwill clothes or the homemade dress I am wearing! This was the eighties!
Yes, that IS a mullet on Shaun. Yes, Matt IS posing like he’s on the catwalk. Yes, that is a GINORMOUS bow on my head.
Shaun influenced me to love Jesus.
He taught me a lot about music and what all the good bands were. Even when my music tastes branched out a little in high school, I still enjoy a great song by Journey, DC TALK, Stryper or All Star United. As I type this right now “Don’t Stop Believin”” is playing on my iTunes. 🙂
We used to stay up late – just me and him – watching “Real Videos”. Anyone else remember this? 🙂
Shaun got our family back into church when I was about 11 years old.
Shaun taught me how to throw a football, shoot hoops and even my ABC’s.
Here is a picture of him dancing at my Uncle Donald’s wedding with our cousin Katie.
I always thought my brother was so handsome. 🙂
Here is a funny pic of him that I love.
Now we are both grown up.
He lives in Wisconsin and I live in Kansas City, MO.
He has 3 kids and I have 3 kitties.
I haven’t lived around my brother for 10 years.
Our personalities, tastes and preferences have both changed as time often does this to people.
Sometimes I feel like I don’t know him anymore and it makes me sad.
But one thing will never change… Shaun Michael is my big brother.
I love him.
No matter how much we argue about whether or not a Christian should enjoy and read Harry Potter…
No matter how many miles separate us….
No matter how much he hates that I have a Justin Bieber song in my iTunes….
NO MATTER WHAT.
I love you, big brother. Always. 🙂