An excerpt from an email I received this week from my little brother who is on a mission in South Africa:
On a different subject, it's my year mark... and I was just wondering.... Jeff has a tribute to him... I have.... habba who wha??? Oh yeah.. Nothing. :) Just a thought.
I ask you my friends. Is it polite to ASK to have someone write a blog about you? Hmm. I think not. However, I DO love my little bro and since I miss him SO much I will oblige. He is one of the rare members of my family that "hearts" my blog anyway so that gives him all sorts of points.**
So let me tell you the stories I remember about my little brother Andy. I will leave out the one where he embarrassed the heck out of my 11-year-old self by getting naked then shaking his gibblies in front of 8 of my closest friends during a slumber party. Yeah, I'll leave that one out.
Anyway, he's got this dark red hair and light skin that just begs to be sunburned. I helped him out in that area when he was 3 and I was 10. It was summer and my mom left me to watch him while she did some things. Usually not a horrible idea since I was a pretty good babysitter even at 10, but hey. Everyone has an off day. Andy wanted to play outside in the wading pool so we got in our swimming suits. I looked EVERYWHERE for the sunscreen and couldn't find it at all. I noticed that my mom had some lotion that said "contains sunscreen" so I figured it was just as good as Coppertone and rubbed it all over my little brother. We stayed outside in the hot sun for at least four hours, probably much longer.
The next morning we heard screams coming from Andy's room. My mom ran in there and he kept saying that his back hurt. She tried to lift up his shirt and couldn't, it was stuck to his back. She peeled it away a little bit. He had blisters the size of quarters all over his shoulders! She took him to the doctor where they sat him in a whirlpool and scrubbed them off every day for two weeks. YEOUCH!!!
Needless to say I never forgot to put sunscreen on him again when I watched him and my mom never forgot to make it easily accessible. I always have so guilty because of this. At the time I didn't know any better but still, I feel bad for making him hurt. Luckily he has forgiven me and only brings it up when he is trying to guilt me into doing something for him.
Since Andy was a lot younger than Jeff and I (like 7-8 years), we liked to play jokes on him. When we were in our late teens we drove around a little Dodge truck. We had four people squished in the cab and told Andy that if a cop drove by he was going to have to duck so that we wouldn't get arrested. So we are driving down the road and we drive by a cop. We tell Andy to duck, then Jeff decides to make it fun. He pulls over really quickly and tells Andy that the cop has his lights on behind us. He tells him that the only way we won't be arrested is if Andy opens the passenger door and sneaks out before the cop sees him. He tells him to hide in the bushes and we will come back for him later when it is dark. Andy is FREAKING out. Bawling. He panics but says he will do it. We start laughing and tell him it was a big joke. We laughed and laughed.
He didn't talk to us for a week and I can't say I blame him. It's a miracle that he still talks to us now after all the stuff we pulled. But he has to admit now, even if it was mean it was a LITTLE funny. A small, small small smidgen funny. Admit it, Andy. It was a smidgen funny.
Excluding the "Cop Story", Andy is great at putting a positive spin on crappy situations. Unfortunately he had a lot of crappy situations in his life that warranted such optimism. Our parents got divorced when he was 9 because my father was abusive. My mom got remarried a couple years later to a man who seemed to be great but ended up being not so great. He battled with alcoholism. Andy spent 8 years of his life living with someone that not only ignored him, but blamed him for everything that ever went wrong in his life. It was not easy for him.
Still he laughed and joked about it. Sometimes I think he laughed to keep from crying, but he made the best of things and came out of it with a great attitude and a desire to be better person. I admire that in him.
Andy is the youngest in our family so he has to put up with a lot of garbage from all of us. Lots of older siblings telling him what to do, trying to parent him. Lots of older siblings determined to help him make better choices than we all made. He would get good grades. He would go to college. He would gain a strong testimony of the Gospel. He would go on a mission. He would not rebel. We talked to him a lot about stuff. Greg gave him the "Don't Fornicate" talk every time he saw him. (Fornication sounds more evil and less exciting than sex, haha) Andy was a good sport about all of it. And except for the good grades thing he did pretty darn good.
Andy has lots of talents. He loves singing and performing. I remember seeing him as J. Pierpont Finch in "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" and just being blown away at how well he did. The kid stole the show! Also, he is funny. Hilarious, actually. You know those baby pictures you can get with the angel wings and soft lighting? Well, my 19-year-old brother made one of his own. It is grossly funny and I would totally post it here except for the fact that in 10 years he might not want it to be traveling the email circuit and people, it WOULD be traveling the emailing circuit. It is email-circuit worthy. I know some of you have seen it though. Is it not hilarious?
Andy came up to visit us about a month before leaving for South Africa. I was due with Mini-Man the week he was scheduled to go the MTC so it was the last time I got to see the kid in person for a while. I cried a lot. Later he told me that he didn't know I was crying because he was leaving. He thought it was because I was pregnant, haha. Anyway, we had a great time when he was here. He played a lot with A-Boy. I took him to get a missionary haircut since his was a tad innappropriate for entering the MTC. (Just a tad, don't you think? haha) We watched lots of movies. We stayed up late talking. I have always loved staying up late talking with him.
**I print out my blog and send it to him, lest you think he is breaking rules and surfing the internet.