My first recollection of loving someone more than I loved myself was with my baby brother Brock. My dad brought me to the hospital to meet him and as they placed that beautiful, plumb, perfect baby in my arms, everything in my small world changed. They didn’t name him Casey as I had affectionately called him in the womb, and he wasn’t a girl like I had hoped, but somehow none of that mattered. He arrived just six days before my fifth birthday and was all I could have ever dreamed of wanting. But I learned something that day that has proven true Brock’s whole life – it is in his DNA to simply give more than expected, and as such he also came bearing gifts for me; a Rose Petal Place book and banana lip gloss. I remember the smell of the hospital as I sat on the bed close to my mom, receiving some assistance holding his little head. I remember the white baby nightgown with the blue stitching and swaddle blanket he was wrapped in, I remember the taste of that delicious banana chap stick and I remember the smell of him, so fresh from heaven. I didn’t know then, but I know now, that this was just the first of many gifts he would give me; gifts that last a life time. Gifts that are worth more that gold and memories more precious than jewels.
I have always been petite and even as a baby Brock was nearly as big as me. He was my real live doll and tending to his needs was one of my favorite big sister things to do. I don’t think he always appreciated my mothering as a child and he probably still feels this way as a 30 year old man.
It wasn’t long before Brock towered over me and was certainly capable of holding his own, nevertheless, I have always been his protector. A bully on the school bus learned this lesson the hard way. This boy tormented Brock all the time, but mistakenly did it in front of me one day and without hesitation or thought of consequence, I wound up and punched him in the face. I don’t know if I actually even hurt him, but he shut up and he didn’t mess with Brock again. I may be small, but heaven help the one who tries to hurt my ‘little’ brother because they will experience the full wrath of my 5’2 frame.
At the times when I have been in my most vulnerable places in life, it was Brock that I could always rely on. When I found myself pregnant at 16 and trying to sort through my choices and navigate difficult family dynamics, it was 11 year old Brock who sat in my room on the floor with me while I cried. And it was he who reassured me that we were family and that meant we would get through whatever life held, no matter what, and we would do it together. And he was right. Our family has had its share of joy and pain, loss and triumph, grit and glory, and we have held tight through them all. Sometimes it has felt like it was the four of us siblings against the world, but we have a bond that cannot be broken. Brock’s immovable integrity and ability to see what truly matters, without emotions getting in the way, has placed him at the heart of this beautiful sibling bond. He has even been known to host “Sibling Only” bonfires at his place!
Dearest Brock, on this, the eve of your wedding, I find myself grateful that God chose our family to love and nurture and grow you; to get the privilege of bearing witness to the transformation of the reserved little boy to confident man. I treasure memories of sharing bunk beds in a small trailer, pulling you in the little red wagon with your white blonde hair flying; tiny coveralls, a whip in one hand and a smile on your adorable face. I remember your childhood glasses, chosen both for their practicality and because they were an exact replica of your dear Grandpa Earl’s. I smile when I think of the hours you spent in the trees, happily by yourself whipping the ground and pretending you were an auctioneer, how you loved poisoning gophers in the most sinister of ways, and how you would bounce a ball off the wall in our room until I almost went crazy! I remember you learning all the names of Premiers, Prime Ministers and Presidents when you were barely old enough to walk, and the way you could remember hundreds of Oilers statistics when you were five. I remember the little boy who needed personal space long before that was a real thing, and how you detested singing songs at school. It is wondrous to marvel at how much you have grown, but how little you have changed. You always knew who you were; and you still do. It was our joy to get to discover how wonderful and unique a gift you are.
You are kind and generous beyond compare. You are an extraordinary uncle who intentionally carves out time for your niece and nephews. You are beloved to the “mini Haley’s” and though Austin towers over you Uncle Brock, he will always look up to you. You are one of those people who loves the few you have chosen whole heartedly, and with unsurpassed loyalty. I am grateful to be within this circle. Your wife Virginia has married one of the best this world has to offer, and I am blessed to call you forever my baby brother. And you have now given me yet another priceless gift, a sister, and I welcome her into my life like I welcomed you. You stole my heart the moment I laid eyes on you, and you have continued to guard and protect that heart, in the way only you can, and I know you will do the same for Virginia and your future children. So I offer humbly, my deepest gratitude and love, and sincere thank you. May you be blessed beyond measure and may the Lord’s face shine upon you and your family, now and forever more.