"Hello you long-shots, you dark horse runners, Hair brush singers, dash-board drummers, Hello you wild magnolias, just waiting to bloom. There's a little bit of all that inside of me and you,
Thank God even crazy dreams come true." ~Carrie Underwood, "Crazy Dreams"
It's just me and my brother Owen in my family. Owen's two grades younger than I am, two and a half years. I never really noticed when he started to really "get big," until this year. The first time I really noticed was when he stepped on the basketball court with the 8th graders, one of four 7th graders to make the varsity middle school team. He was so proud. I was so proud.
Nearly every other day he makes me stand up to see if he's taller than me yet. I still hold a proud quarter inch on him, a quarter inch I won't let him forget. But I would be a fool to deny that he is getting bigger. Last time we went to church I let him step in front of me to receive Communion (like my dad lets me step before him), only to realize that he wasn't that much shorter than me. Pretty soon I will be stepping in front of him! No. I'll still make him step in front of me.
Today was another one of those days when I realize how big Owen is getting. At track practice he ran with the high schoolers, and he fit right in, trailing off their tails. My grandma says Owen's gotten more mature this year. I personally find this a bit hard to admit when he still captures every opportunity to make some juvenile joke (which he still hasn't learned I can't respond to with the reaction he's looking for). Then tonight he had a winter sports award banquet. He left dressed in a suit and with his hair combed, and made me give him the sniff test to make sure he didn't still smell like track (I advised he spray a little bit of cologne). He came home bearing a trophy for Most Dedicated Athlete of the season, out of all the middle school teams. I was so happy all his hard work from basketball season had paid off: all those early practices, all those cold afternoons he spent shooting hoops, all the times he shook the house with his dribbling...he deserves it.
But really, what happened to the little boy who used to crawl into bed with me when he had a nightmare? Who used to dance with me? Who used to booby trap the house, inspired by his favorite movie at the time, "Home Alone?" What happened to that little blue-eyed blondie? He's right here in my lap, now past the stage when he's too cool to give me a hug, but maybe it's only because no one's watching. And if I look hard enough, I still see that little boy. I'll always see that little boy.