Saturday, April 19, 2008

My Brother--Celebrated!

Teri, Russell and Alannah at Multnomah Falls.

Russell and Alannah in India. Alannah is getting a henna tatoo. Can you see the love for his niece in his face? I can.

Russell and Michelle--self-portrait on the trail in Portland.

Russell has the same photo hanging in his home.

What a great uncle! He was visiting us in Iowa. Look how little my children were!

Our trip to California for Russ and Michelle's wedding.

Today is my brother's birthday. He is 4* years old (and still gets carded when buying beer). If I didn't really love him, I might hafta hate him for that. lol I would like this post to be a loving tribute to the person my brother is. So I'm gonna tell things I love about him; things I remember that illustrate how exceptional he is.

My brother is wicked smart. He definitely got the smart genes (other male cousins are a Ph.D. chemical engineer, a professor at Clemson (aerospace engineer?) and an Air Force Academy graduate). He loves logic and math. To me, that is a great mystery. lol
Russell has a Ph.D. in philosophy. He has been a professor at University of *** and at the University of ***. He has started a second Ph.D. in statistics (shudder). He and his wife, Michelle, are teaching in India at an embassy school. Smart folk.

Russell is a vegetarian. He is an athlete. He loves to trail run, work out and drink beer (local specialty beers seem to be preferred). I am none of these things; he does not judge me.

Although he does not have children, he has been the most awesome uncle to my children. Thoughful gifts. Educational gifts. Scrabble. Some other smart game he taught my kids ("Set"?). The gift of his time and wisdom and love and guidance. Trips to Portland, LA, India and Florida. Priceless memories.

When I went through my divorce, my brother was my rock. He gave a listening ear and a strong shoulder. He offered wise counsel. He flew to Iowa to help me with legal matters and my children. He learned to change a diaper (Alannah's) and then learned to hire the 12 year old across the street to change his niece the rest of the week. ::snort::

He has met my attorney, our family counselor, our pastor. He has accompanied me to work, to see how I spend my time. I've visited him in his classroom, in Santa Barbara and in India.

Although he is not a Christian, he listens with respect to my world view. He visits our church with us, when he comes to town.

He gave me away, walking me down the aisle at my marriage to Mark. He has acted as my best friend, my brother, my father, my children's uncle, my husband's brother in law. He makes my friends, his friends; my extended family, his family.

I got to be deputized in California (sort of, along with Michelle's dad) in order to marry he and Michelle in a lovely service overlooking the ocean. We visited him in India, touring and experiencing the places he lives and shops and hangs out.

They don't come any better than my brother. Really. I am blessed, indeed.

The only sad thing is that we don't really remember each other before I was 30. The home we grew up in was pretty dysfunctional. We each just sort of managed to get by. I don't recall interacting much with my brother. I must have. There were only the two of us kids, but I still don't really remember hanging out with my brother. We are only two years apart, but we just don't remember connecting until adulthood. Sad, huh?

At the time we came together, we sorta realized what we a great friendship we had and decided, mutually, to never grow apart. And somehow, although we have not lived in the same state as one another since I was 20, we have managed to maintain our relationship.

Constant emails. Frequent Skype and cell calls. Visiting one another as often as we can.
We are looking forward to he and Michelle visiting us in Iowa in June. We cannot wait to see them! To hang out and breathe the same air, is my idea of a good time. So exciting to contemplate the fun...

I pray I have been half as wonderful to him, as he has been to me. He deserves a very good sister, friend and family member. I would defend him at any cost. I would travel to him in a heartbeat, if he needed me. I would do/be anything he needed.

Love you muchly, Bro!!! Can't wait to see you. :~)

1 comment:

Nicole - Raising Animals said...

Wait, I'm totally confused....Does your brother live in Portland? You haven't been here recently, have you? I would trust that if you had been here, you would have called so that we could have lunch - right????
THat's a very sweet tribute to your brother. He's blessed to have such an adoring sis!