For the month of November I’ve decided to post each day about a person or people who have influenced my life for good. There’s no way I could include each and every person in one month or even one year, and for that I hope you’ll forgive me. This year, especially, has brought an acute awareness of the kindness and generosity which surrounds me and my kids, so here’s one attempt at giving thanks.
17 – James
Once upon a time a girl had a brother and he had her.
I’ve always felt protective of him, but he’s had his share of being the protector, that’s for damn sure.
He hates when I swear.
I don’t remember my first memory of James, only a lot of laughing, and some crying, and singing. As we got older we began to share friends, which worked wonderfully…like when he was a varsity wrestler in 8th grade, during my senior year. That same year we sat next to each other during the math final (you read that correctly).
So many memories, it would be impossible to name each.
There was the time I checked him out of school so we could take the missionaries bowling (TAKE.THEM.BOWLING.), which afternoon’s activities broke at least a dozen rules, and we made sure to stop at the side of the road to take pictures of each other lying on the ground next to a dead deer. Yes, as if we were also dead. But we look nothing near dead because we are each laughing so hard (what I wouldn’t give to know where those pictures are).
There were the times we dressed up in scrubs to watch ER every week, and all the times we refused to watch Baywatch only because it was the most popular show on television.
There was the time we had a contest to see who could steal the biggest thing from McDonald’s.
There was the time we were in a band together called ‘Jeremy’s Mom’s A Librarian,’ and our concerts consistently resulted in the cops being called.
There was the time I took him to get his cast taken off, and he cried from being scared, and I had my first big experience with being the brave one, telling the kid he’d be okay when I really just wanted to cry, too.
There were all the times he just wanted to beat the crap out of any boy who hurt my heart.
There was the time I told him I was moving to Chicago and with tear-filled eyes he looked up at me and asked, “Who’s gonna take me to church?”
There was the time I moved to Utah and spent all morning driving around town to find him so we could say goodbye…and I couldn’t find him. I cried all the way to Indiana.
There was the time I picked him up at the Salt Lake airport, him with his guitar slung around his shoulder, and I watched as he literally took the steps into his future.
There was the time he went on a mission and I may or may not have mailed him things illegally.
There was the time I hugged him in the St. George temple, minutes after he was married, and he whispered in my ear, “You, alright? I learned it by watching you.”
There was the time he watched me have a baby.
There was the time we were talking on the phone and he asked me a question and I answered, “James, this conversation is going to take a turn and you’re not going to like it,” and then I started talking out loud about knowing my marriage was going to end.
There were all the times, hours each day that he didn’t have, for months, when we talked and exchanged text messages and he was my life-saver, helping me with three-way phone calls to explain to family members what I couldn’t.
There were all the times he told me I’m worthy of love, real love, actual love. And he patiently listened as I told him I don’t think I’ll ever be with someone who will take the love I have to give and do the right thing with it.
There were all the times he and I hurt each others’ feelings, apologized, and frankly forgave one another.
Oh, and there was the time we took swing dance lessons from some crazy lady.
Thanks, James. I love you.