Tomorrow, our sweet little brother (who isn't so little anymore) will be turning 13, and we can say is, "How?!" It seems like just yesterday he was the rambunctious two year old who enjoyed climbing on top of the piano and playing loudly and enthusiastically with his feet, or the strong-willed (read: mule headed) four year old who had a denim baseball cap he wouldn't take off for anything, not even to sleep, or the outgoing five year old who knew every single NASCAR driver by name and could spout off their times and their wins and whether or not he thought they were sissies.
Everything about our brother, from the first day Mama and Daddy brought him home, was pedal to the metal. He came here talking, and Lord knows he's going to spend every single waking-and sometimes sleeping-moment of every single day talking, whether or not anyone is actually listening. He has filled our home with laughter, love, and conversation for almost thirteen years, adding generously to the chaos and keeping the insanity level right on the peak of explosion. Whether he's toying with yet another Percy Jackson theory or arguing Loki's case with extreme bias and prejudice, he is one hundred and five percent into whatever he's doing. He is enthusiastic, optimistic, and easy going, balancing out the two of us with innate skill, and has a sense of humor that leaves us in stitches, as well as penchant for not wearing pants.
He takes everything in stride, including a physical disability that left him struggling to keep up with other kids his age. Instead of letting it slow him down, though, he got creative, and he truly showed us what it means to be a trooper. He has dealt with the pain of his disability as well as the aggravation of having two older sisters with the patience of a martyr, something that truly leaves us in awe. Never once has he complained about sitting for hours in a recording studio while we work. He adds to our excitement, he helps extinguish our fears and doubts, and from the very beginning, he was our number 1 fan. Mama often says that none of this would have been possible if he had been anything like the two of us when we were younger, and while that it true, we'd like to take it a step farther and say that none of this would have been possible without him. Thank you so much, Braeden, for your unswerving loyalty, your dogged determination to be optimistic and upbeat, your patience, your encouragement, your enthusiasm, and your creativity. You are such a wonderful young man, and we are beyond blessed and grateful to be your older sisters, even if we don't always act like it. Thank you for letting us into your world and sharing your passions for superheroes and demigods and video games. We might have been able to survive without in-depth knowledge of NASCAR drivers and Percy Jackson conspiracy theories or your complete and total dedication and cooperation in proving Loki's goodness, but we wouldn't have wanted to. You are our little brother, but more importantly, you are our friend...even though you won't sit with us in church.
Happy birthday, Braeden. We hope that you have the greatest of all days of birth, a party that reaches Asgardian standards for food and fun (hopefully without any errant bilgesnipe showing up uninvited), and all the Lego sets you can manage to put together perfectly. The day you've been waiting for has finally arrived: double digits! ;D
Loads of love and lots of lipstick-y kisses (because what else are sisters for?),
B + L