My brother and I are only twenty months apart. That generally means one of three things. You either fight all the time, get along great, or you fight all the time while getting along great. We fall into the last category.
As the baby of the family and middle child, we played our parts well; I was the mouth and Jonathan had the muscle (translation: I was quick with my words and Jonathan just beat me in retaliation…or sometimes instigation). Once, I mouthed off to Jonathan and then slapped him in the face (I knew it was crossing the line, but you should’ve seen the look on his face). He chased me out the door and into our front yard before he dropped me near the road and sat on my chest with his knees (painfully) pinning my armpits to the grass, slapping my face repeatedly while my friends drove by and honked.
Growing up, Mom always dressed Jonathan and I the same (we have since forgiven her for that) but it is appropriate that in all of our family photos, I look like a mini-Jonathan. I always wanted to be Jonathan. I wanted to be as smart as him and as good as him at basketball. I wanted to go where Jonathan went and do what he did…I followed him everywhere.
Some of my best memories of growing up are with my big brother. We built elaborate forts together, played basketball together, fished together, collected baseball cards together. We have worked countless hours together, walking beans, baling hay, building decks and sheds, laying floors, planting trees, and putting up fences.
In high school, Jonathan was the one who broke all the school records, who was in the newspaper every week. He was the varsity basketball star while I played JV. People mockingly would ask me, “You gonna be as good as your brother?” My answer was always, “Nope, but neither are you.”
I don’t remember ever really being jealous of Jonathan…trust me, he definitely annoyed me, but I was always proud that he was my brother. He defended me, included me, taught me, cheered me on, and set the standard for me. He still does.
My brother is an incredible leader. He is a hard worker. He loves his wife and he loves his kids. He is such a good uncle. He serves his church, he’s so good at what he does and he loves Jesus with his whole heart.
And because of all of that, I still want to be like Jonathan.
We can drive each other crazy (many have witnessed this), and we know exactly what buttons to push, but ultimately…I think if you don’t have a big brother like him, you’re missing out.
Happy Birthday Jonny, I love you man.