I hope no one's offended by two birthday posts in a row, but I couldn't ignore (again) acknowledging one of my favorite brothers and the anniversary of his birth.
For the past ten years or more, we've celebrated Joshua's birthday at Thanksgiving, usually on Saturday night with beef stew and apple pie or apple dumplings and early presents. It's a tradition of which I approve heartily. It's always more fun to celebrate a birthday in person instead of mailing a present (or forgetting to mail a present) or just handing it over the next time we see each other. But sometimes the result of celebrating his birthday so early is that the day itself flies under the radar for me. I remembered the date several times yesterday and made mental notes all over the place to call today. Since Joshua is the lone facebook holdout in our immediate family, I knew I couldn't count on the internet to remind me either. The good news is that all those mental notes paid off, and I thought to call early enough in the day that Jess was here to sing with me. My voice is shot right now, so I really needed someone strong on lead vocals. For the first time all year, I didn't get screened when I called their house for a birthday song. I was starting to get a complex. I had a nice little chat with Joshua, and now I continue the birthday love with my five favorite things about my old, old brother:
5. Joshua is the black sheep in our family. Just ask him, he'll tell you. I'm so thankful that he's taken the black sheep role, so that I can be everyone's favorite. (Or maybe I'm just thankful that he's so good at making funny black sheep jokes that crack me up.)
4. Eleven and a half years ago, Joshua added another sister into our family. Susan fits into our noisy, stubborn family as well as anyone ever could. Either she's a phenomenal actress, or she actually loves us too. I've said before that I feel like we won the in-law lottery with Susan. I know enough people who just tolerate or exist alongside their in-laws, so I feel blessed that Joshua brought someone into our family who I can call a friend. And the team that the two of them make is a lovely thing to behold.
3. Ring, Pinkie, & Thumb. Without Joshua, I wouldn't have these precious little brats in my life, and that would be a tragedy of epic proportions.
2. Separate from his making me an aunt to his three adorable kiddos, Joshua as a daddy is one of my favorite things. I never gave much thought to him as a father before he became one (for obvious reasons), but his talent for it was a revelation, if not necessarily a surprise. He is crazy about his kids, and they are just as enamored of him. His protectiveness and love is so fierce and intense that I know those kids will grow up never doubting for a second their specialness and value in this world. Good parenting is a beautiful gift, and my dear brother is blessing his children in this way and receiving heaps of blessings in return.
1. Joshua is my first and best example that people can get better with age. Joshua earned his reputation in our family as a high-energy, aggressive kid. Because of our closeness in age and size and our vastly different temperaments when we were young, he and I were not exactly friends. In most of our childhood stories, he comes across as the bad guy, and because I couldn't hit as hard and could cry on command, I'm the heroic victim. But whether or not he deserves the notoriety for his past, Joshua has long since grown from my occasional tormentor into a protective and loyal friend. I think he was probably always better than I gave him credit for, but I'm so thankful that I finally grew up enough to see all of his good qualities like his tenacity and kindness and humor. Knowing Joshua gives me hope that someday I can grow into a better person too, and I could look around for a long time and not find a more admirable example to follow.
Happy Birthday, Bub! Love.