To my favorite brother, Daniel,
We have almost always been inseparable, you and I. In our little years, you were my best friend, my companion, my constant. Things always changed growing up as an MK, but wherever our family moved to, you would be going, too.
I remember doing almost everything together from a very young age.
Until, of course, you got old enough to have common sense. And then you realized that little sisters are not cool and you would not be friends with me. Secretly, I still knew that you loved me, even when you didn’t invite me to go shoot birds or play soccer with your friends. It’s cool, I get it now.
You went off to boarding school first, and you had so many friends. That’s the thing about you…you have never made an enemy. You hold your friends close and build your relationships intentionally, but even if someone is not your best friend…they are not your enemy.
I missed you so much when you were at boarding school, and knowing you were there made it so much easier for me to go to Sahel at first. Even if we fought like cats and dogs at home, we had each other’s backs at school. If you look up “protective older brother” in the dictionary, there will be a picture there of you. Everyone knew not to mess with me because you were always there, always watching, always knowing what was best for me. You are not only protective, but wise. I mean, what more could a girl ask for? A wise, protective older brother?
The year that you were back in the States and I was in Niger was probably the hardest year of my young life. I hated being so far from you, and I cherished all our communication back and forth. I told you everything, and I’m pretty sure that you told me almost everything, too! We forged a bond that still exists to this day.
When looking through colleges for me to attend, a few stuck out, but none as much as Cedarville. I wanted to go to Cedarville because of a certain boy, and that boy was my brother! I was so tired of living thousands of miles away from you and so I chose to go to Cedarville… Granted, there were plenty of other reasons to go to Cedarville, but being close to my best friend was the main reason.
I LOVED being at Cedarville with you. I knew I had you to talk to, I knew that you were just a walk away and I loved being integrated into your friend group. I don’t know how I would have handled the adjustment to the States without that.
When we were at Cedarville, people either assumed we were dating, or that we were twins. We were fairly inseparable. In fact, one time when we were at our weekly lunch date, a friend Kelly saw us. You and Kelly were just starting to talk about dating and as soon as this friend saw us, she told Kelly that you were actually with some blonde girl. Kelly freaked out for a moment until she realized it was just your sister. Haha. That story totally cracks me up!
The protective older brother really came out when you first heard about Theo. You were not impressed at first, but as you saw how much I loved this man, you came around. And I’m so grateful that you did, because I love the fact that you guys get along now.
Daniel, you are such a goof. You always have something incredibly funny to say, or a way to make everyone laugh. And the best part is that it is always something unexpected that makes everyone around you laugh and laugh. Here you are deciding that we need to play “52 card pick-up”. Good one.
I will never forget all the funny things that we have to laugh about from all of our years together.
You are so humble, and so gentle and kind. You have a passion to always learn more and always treasure what you have.
I wish I could explain with words the way that you have helped form me spiritually. From things that you had no control over, like when you started having seizures. I remember standing in the Niamey airport with Dad and watching you and Mom fly off to France to determine if you had a brain tumor or not. I don’t know why we decided it was a good idea to leave the two dramatic ones back home together, but I’m pretty sure we both thought you were going to die. Well, that moment was when I realized that I need to believe that God is good no matter what. I was probably 11? I am so thankful that you were alright, but that moment alone was enough for me to believe that I had to have my faith in God. You have also intentionally helped form me spiritually through your prayers, encouragement and advice. I cannot imagine having to make decisions without you!
You have also been such a huge cheerleader and supporter of me in all things! When I was in high school, when I was in Cedarville, when I was engaged, when we got married and now as I am a Mom and a foster Mom. You were always able to encourage me and help me through each circumstance that I felt overwhelmed by.
I am so thankful for Kelly, too, and how you found her and pursued her. She is your perfect match and I am so grateful for her. I love watching and learning from your relationship with her and being able to be a part of that, too.
Of course, one of my favorite things is watching you be an Uncle to Tera Evelynne (and Little Miss, too).
You are most certainly the Uncle (and Aunt) that every little kid needs!
Just in case you didn’t know- I love you and I’m so, so proud of you!