Four decades ago, I may not have been quite so thankful for my little brother. People thought he was a cute little fellow, but I wasn’t so sure. However, once he passed the “I will get attention by pestering my siblings” stage, Matt became a valued companion as we traipsed through those growing years. Matt continued on to become not just an admired brother, but a young man with many wonderful traits. As his favorite (only) sister, I can still call him my little brother, but his height surpassed mine by the time he was in high school.
So why the brother musings? Today, July 12, Matt’s birthday! I won’t mention which birthday this one is, but last year we may have held a fortieth birthday celebration during our family lake trip. ‘Nuff said.
Today’s 5 Thankful things – Why I’m thankful for my “little” brother:
- Fun mind challenges as we grew – When I was in sixth grade, and Matt was a second grader, he taught me the longest word in the English dictionary, “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicavolcanoconiosis.” We both loved to read, and this bit of word trivia helped spur a deeper interest in words that continues today. (It also stood out to me as proof that this little fellow was rather bright.)
- Fellow explorer – Our house, where we moved when I was in first grade, was at the edge of an eight acre plot of woods. No paths, of course, but why would we need those? Matt and I found exciting things, like the giant vine that draped down between two tall trees. It could act as a swing of sorts, and though it only moved a couple feet at the most, it felt like magic. (Matt found that the swing had collapsed many years later. Either the result of a nasty storm or natural rot, not uncommon among trees of that sort.)
- Bicycle adventures – I remember us riding our bikes to visit an elderly church friend, Bruce. Trips to Bruce’s old farmhouse seemed a little intimidating when I traveled alone, but with Matt by my side, the quick two-mile ride was enjoyable.
Loving uncle – Matt always related well with kids, and this was particularly the case with his two nieces in our house. When Em and Rach were little tykes, he could relate so nicely with them. But with each of their stages, he has been able to connect with both of our girls in meaningful ways. (Just yesterday, a few days after they received their AP test scores, the girls exchanged meaningful thoughts about these tests with Uncle Matt.)
- Family man – Matt’s wife, Chanda, is a gem – smart, lovely, funny and empathetic. With our brunette family, Chanda and their two beautiful daughters bring that California blond look that our family had been missing. And as somebody who regularly beats me – by a lot – in “Words with Friends,” I know that she keeps Matt’s mind challenged also.