It's hard to think of my brother as an adult, with a wife, home, friends with children, and career of his own. I guess that's just the way it is, growing up with the boy, leaving home before the boy becomes a man.
Yet, when my family pulled in the drive of my brother and his wife's home yesterday evening, I only had to walk through the front door to be confronted with proof that he was no longer a boy playing house.
At the bottom of the stairs hung his coat with its two Lieutenant's bars on the shoulder and his white-topped hat, its metal Navy seal speaking maturity, importance. In the dining room on the hutch lay his white gloves, all part of the everyday uniform he wears as chaplain at Arlington Cemetery in Washington D.C. where he conducts over 400 memorial services each yearI guess it's a lot like watching my children grow; even though I see them each day, I never notice their growth until their pants are too short, shoes too tight.
With Johnathan, I went to his wedding. I Skype him every Sunday afternoon. I love on him in person each Christmas. I know the man who is.
But I also remember the boy who was small enough for me to sit on, who hid his broccoli behind the kitchen canisters, who loved creating complex layouts with Robin Hood Legos in the bedroom, who mastered video games when I failed to pass even the first level.
This same boy turned young man was the one who helped care for my husband when he sliced open his leg with a chainsaw in post hurricane cleanup, who built a greenhouse in the back of our old house.
And now? I look across the room and watch as my brother plays Candy Land with my brood, listen as he teaches my oldest son to follow instructions to create his first Lego structure. As he slowly explains each step, I wonder where he learned such patience.I wonder if he feels like a grown up, or if he's like me, wondering when I crossed over into the realm of "adult." Even with three children of my own, I still don't feel like I thought a grown up would feel, some days even still feel like I'm playing house with my own kids.
Perhaps this is just how God created us, with a soul so built for eternity that the body's decay seems almost incomprehensible, a soul that doesn't age and never feels old. Maybe I'll be eighty one day, look at the scars of time on my body and still wonder how I became this old when my heart still skips with the joy and laughter of a child.