My younger brother turns twenty-five today. Tyler and I could not be more different, and yet we could not be more alike. We share the same laugh and the same sense of humor. We share the same heart for the broken and worn down, the displaced and forgotten.
Sometimes I look at him and see the kid who tagged along to hardcore shows, determined to learn how to play guitar. And then I remember the sounds he’s produced in the years since, the songs that move people. Sometimes I look at him and see the kid who gagged down protein shakes over our kitchen sink, determined to gain enough weight to play football in college. And then I remember his national championship ring, the one our kids beg him to bring over so they can feel its weightiness.
I look on my little brother with pride, but I also look at him as a test run. A lesson on how to process the choices my own kids make as they grow into adults. You see, Tyler isn’t as
driven neurotic as I. He wasn’t married and planning a family at his college graduation. He didn’t have a five-year plan and force it into action. Tyler hasn’t rushed, hasn’t missed a beat of what life has to offer. He’s stretching me and growing me as a mother, just by his example. And I’m grateful for it. My kids might not all end up just like me. If they end up a little like you, little brother, I’d consider it an honor.