I cannot believe that I am about to write this post. No, there is nothing bad about it (I'm a nice girl) and nothing naughty about it (get your mind out of the gutter, people) but rather something that simply just blows my mind! My little brother, who is, for the record, 9 years younger than me, just graduated from high school. N-i-n-e years younger. From high school. Can somebody please tell me how this happened?
At the risk of sounding like the kid's parent, I remember the day he came home from the hospital like it was yesterday. It was a blustery and snowy day and I clearly remember how nervous my parents were navigating the slippery streets with their newborn infant in the back seat. I am sure that in addition to the less than desirable driving conditions, they had a million other things going through their minds as well. They now had three children - two girls and a boy, and it had been 7 years since there had been a newborn infant in their care. My sister and I, however, felt as though Christmas came early that year.
For years I had been begging my parents for, "a brother for Christmas," but was always told, kindly, that that probably wasn't going to happen.
Ha ha ha, ho ho ho - Parents - what do they know?
It was a surprise to the entire family that day in 1990 when we all found that indeed, we would all be getting a little baby boy addition for Christmas. From the second he was in the house, I assumed the role of Mommy's Helper and loved being able to help with my baby brother. At the ripe age of nine I quickly picked up how to change diapers (or, nappies for you English folk), how to burp him, how to give him a bath and many of the other little delights that come with a baby in the house. I loved every second of it and those skills have stuck with me to this day. Thanks to my brother, I have always been comfortable being around babies, dealing with crying babies and calmly cleaning up after babies - despite how disgusting that can get. It has been a joy and an honor and I will take care of him always and, what's that? Huh? College? Turning 19 soon? Wait a minute, this must be a joke - certainly my baby brother isn't about to graduate from high school. He couldn't possibly be ready to venture out into the world - alone and afraid. Could he?
Here is when I wake up and come out of my denial-ridden and skewed sense of reality. My brother done gone and growed up, and while it is hard, I couldn't be more excited for him. Really. I swear. This was brought to the forefront as my family and I got to watch him graduate this past weekend.
There is the family, waiting for all of the excited graduates to take their seats.
See the seats? Aren't they a pretty purple? That is one of the school's colors, along with gold and white. Moments after this photo was taken, hundreds of eager and bright pupils took their places. Oh, I just love life's rights of passage, don't you?
There they all are! That is my brother, in the center, smiling at me. What a sight! Isn't he cute dressed up in his cap and gown? I say, a Stott has never looked so good in purple.
After a loooooonnnngggg time waiting for all of the speeches to finish, the time had arrived to walk across the stage and graduate.
It is slightly difficult to pick my bro out of this pic, but I know where he is and that is all that counts. What also counts is that my picture of him actually graduating is in video form and the file is apparently too large to post - so, I will just tell you that hearing his name on the loud speaker was a great moment as he received his diploma and became an official high school graduate. Congrats little bro - I am so happy for you!
After the ceremony and many minutes trying to locate each other through the sea of purple gowns, there was nothing but congratulatory love abound.
Abound. (nice eyes Dad)
FYI - the gentleman in the blue shirt is my cousin and until recently he was living at my Dad's and going to school. He and my brother developed quite the brotherly relationship and I love this picture because it pretty much sums up the two of them quite nicely. As does this one:
They are really just weirdos, but I digress.
The night after the graduation, we all went out the dinner at a really lovely restaurant in Portland called The Chart House which serves traditional NW fare including a lot of seafood and steak. Yummy. As we sat down and were handed our menus, we all noticed a little somethin' somethin'. See if you can spot it?
See it? Up at the top? They had actually printed special menus that night with a little message to my brother. I was tickled by that and I hoped he felt as special as I would have if my name was on the top of the menu.
As is tradition with all of our graduation dinners, my Dad, who keeps EVERYTHING, pulls out a little collection from our childhood and talks about each item. I always love when he does this because a) it is cute and b) it confirms my belief that my Dad cannot get rid of anything.
Here he is holding his Teddy Bear that he was given as a baby. That little bear brings back a lot of memories of my little baby brother in his little crib with his bear. Awwwwww...
Here is one of his many, many Army hats. Anyone who knows my brother knows that the kid has always enjoyed anything having to do with the military and he used to wear this hat quite often as he fought the enemies in the backyard (or, again for you Brits, in the garden.)
This picture might not look like much, but here is when it was discovered that my Dad had found an old journal my brother wrote when he was about 7. Let's just say that adorable does not even begin to describe what my brother felt was important to write about at that age, like airplanes.
It wasn't all jokey jokey as he was given some gifts as well. Here is a huge picture of him playing Lacrosse. Liiitttllleee ggguuuyy! Yes, I try to emasculate my brother whenever possible. Then he does mean things to me like this:
I was just trying to tell him that I love him. Sheesh.
But he emasculates himself as well when he makes faces like this. When will he ever learn? Mess with your sisters, and pictures like this end up for all to see:
Oh my brother. My brother, my brother, my brother. I have nothing but love for this kid. Like, serious I-would-die-for-him-in-a-second love. He has been an absolute joy and I know that the next four years for him will be amazing. He has chosen to attend University of Oregon, quack quack, and I cannot wait to go and visit him. Surely, he will not be quite as excited as I will be, but do I care? NO! Best of luck my brother! We are always here standing by you all the way. Thank you for making these last 18 years all the more interesting and enjoyable. I can't wait to see where life takes you next.
What a cutie-pie.