It's hard to believe, but my youngest brother, Jake, will be graduating from high school tomorrow evening. I still can't believe it.
I remember exactly where I was when I was told that Jake was born. I was sitting on the glider in the garage at momo and papa's house. Momo came out of the house and said, "Mom just had the baby. It's a little boy." I cried. I screamed. I was ten years old and dying to have a little sister. I remember I yelled "put him back where he came from and get me a sister." I was so devestated. But as soon as I saw him, it changed. He was the most adorable baby. Big brown doe eyes (we were used to blue eyed babies in my family) and the longest lashes I've ever seen...Im still jealous of them. He was tiny to me. I loved holding him in the rocker with Joe. We have lots of pictures of that. We used to put bonnets on him because he had such a pretty face. He hated it and would cry...he knew we were doing something we shouldn't.
As he got older, he got more defiant, of course. He and Joe used to fight worse than Tanner and I, which I didn't think possible. They caused each other to have more stitches, black eyes, and goose-eggs than any other two children I have yet to come across. Those two got themselves into more trouble than anyone else as well. I still remember the time Tanner and I came downstairs and found our huge kitchen floor covered in baby oil. They were playing slip and slide. We fell for months after; hitting slick spots that we thought we had cleaned. Or the time we couldn't find the boys and saw smoke coming out of the barn. They had taken gasoline and created a circle on the concrete floor and lit it on fire and were standing in the giant circle they had created. It's a wonder they survived childhood.
Jake was only 8 when Kevin and I started dating. I would take him with me on my dates with Kevin at the beach. We would play in the sand, take turns burying each other, and then go run into the water. It was fun times. He was impressed and in awe of kevin's four wheeler. He thought he was the coolest thing ever.
Jake was the chubby kid in elementary and junior high. He was awesome at basketball...the three point shooter of the team. When he hit high school, he got his growth spurt. He got super tall (for our family) and very handsome. All of a sudden all my cheerleaders were in love with my brother. It was funny. They all listened in awe when I told them about the time I took him and his buddies to the movies in Tiffin for Jakes birthday (to see Anchorman) and they had a mooning contest between my car and my mom's car on the ride home. They were jealous that I had gotten to see all the 13 year old butts pressed against glass. I still laugh about it.
Jake struggled with school a lot. He has a horrible learning disability and I know it got frustrating for my mom working with him every night. I recently helped him to complete his senior project for one of his classes. He still amazes me at how hard he tries. He is a lot smarter than he gives himself credit for. A lot of other people would have just given up and dropped out. He had to be pushed from time to time, but he put in the work, the do-overs, and the studying he had to to make it by.
He is by far one of the hardest workers I have ever met. How many 18 year olds do you know that can take over a business and still maintain a busy schedule while still being in school? Not too many. He does great work, he excels at landscaping...he learned from the best and has a natural eye for it. He will do great after high school. I think he will really come into his own and show everyone that ever doubted him just how talented he is. Book smarts don't count for everything.
I'm pretty proud of my family. I think we have all turned out great. We are all our own individuals with different talents. We don't compete with each other, we support each other.
Good luck Jake, Kick some ass!