Today is my brother Adam’s birthday. My little, but taller, brother. He is 26 years-old now – that’s just crazy. When did he get so old?! Wait, that means I’m old, too…. I have loved having the priveledge of watching him grow, learn, and mature into a good man. And I have had the honor of praying for him all these years.
Growing up, we spent many a rainy or snowy (or sometimes just too darn hot) day playing with Legos. We would take over the living room floor with our buckets and begin our construction of pint-sized houses, cars, boats, and towns. We would find the directions to all of our sets, and painstakingly reassemble them all just because we could. When we got bored with Legos, we would pull out our dad’s old matchbox cars and build ramps that curved down the stairs. Of course, we were careful to not hit the wall (or at least get caught hitting the wall) as to not get in trouble for putting dents in the dry-wall.
We spent many a summer day out in the sandbox, creating towns for cars and toys… then wreaking havoc as “natural disasters” hit. We ran all over town on our bikes. Making weekly trips downtown to Benjamin Franklin with our allowance money in hand, to buy up as much candy as we could. And if we could find that penny on the ground to pay tax, then that meant the whole dollar could be used for candy.
As we got older, we spend those same rainy, snowy, or just-too-hot days playing Ninteno – the orignal. We got quite good at Mario Brothers 3, though we never actually beat it. Eventually we upgraded to Playstation.
And when the weather was nice, we could be found outside. We lived on a block that had a lot of other kids to play with. Especially as we got older and everyone got rollerblades, we began to play pick-up games of street hockey. This was always a lot of fun, until after a few years of it the police put the stop to it throughout town. Then we were limited to just playing in parking lots of churches.
Our bikes were also used to get us to Flikkema’s farm, next to the elementary school. We spent so much of our summer there, on our cousin’s farm. We would play with the cats, feed the cows, name all the new baby animals after whatever Disney movie had just come out, take walks through the pasture sometimes with the resident horse following us, try to gather eggs from the chickens before the one cat ate them all, and built forts with the bales of hay in the hay mow. And when we got home from the farm, mom would immediately send us to the bathtub… because, frankly, we stank.
And on the rare chance that we were actually home, and mom still couldn’t find us in our own yard, we were across the street at John and Marylinn’s house; our adopted grandparents, of sorts. They spoiled us, fed us junk (Oreos, M&Ms, Skittles), and let us hang out at their house whenever we wanted. We climbed their trees, planted and weeded their flower gardens, and ran through their water sprinklers.
We had many great adventures together; I am glad that I had a ready and willing accomplice at my side growing up. I wish him more adventures as he celebrates another year.
Adam, may God bless the work of your hands!