I just got a voicemail from my little brother reminding me that tomorrow morning he'll hop on a plane by himself and fly five hours to Virginia where he'll go to school and run track.
His voice sounds deep and low in the message—too deep and low for such a little brother. But he's 20 now and he's grown big capable hands, and he's got a thick beard to match the thick curls on his head. His boyish frame has widened into broad, sturdy shoulders, and the boy who helped mom around the house has cultivated a work ethic that proves he's a man.
And how can it be that time passes so quickly?
Because I could have sworn that just the other day I was pressing his outie bellie button pretending it was an elevator button and he was grinning big calling me "sissie" as we scooted up to the 7th floor. And didn't we just dance to the Donut Man in the living room and eat lunch on some old boards nailed to the branches of the evergreen tree out back? And it couldn't have been too long ago that his voice cracked for the first time and his upper lip sprouted the makings of a mustache...
I think I must be getting older too, because I want to weep that he'll be so far away from his Washington home, and I know this means things are changing and they'll never be the same.
And here I am 1,000 miles away from my Washington home and my trembling heart worries that Little Brother will be lonely, that he won't have a ride to church on Sunday, that he'll run out of quarters for the washing machine, that he'll get hungry when the cafeteria isn't open, that he'll meet an east coast girl, that he won't have any clean socks on race day, and that he'll notice his dad's not in the audience for every track meet.
But in the deepest part of my older sister's heart I know that the Little Brother I've watched grow into a man loves Jesus, thinks clearly, acts intentionally, manages his money well, and listens to the advice of wise parents. And so my sisterly worries keep colliding with great excitement him—for the opportunities for growth that change ushers in, for the things he'll learn about himself when he's far from home, and for the fun adventures that lay waiting on the horizon and will one day turn into the sweetest of memories. I can't wait to hear about them.
Little Brother, I think you're too busy trying to stuff a year's worth of living supplies into two suitcases right now to dream about your upcoming year, but you'll have time to dream on the plane tomorrow. In the meantime, here's to hoping you have a year that surpasses your wildest hopes — a year that stretches you intellectually, teaches you to persevere, allows you to experience victory over pain, pushes you into greater intimacy with Jesus, and teaches you the trick of spraying febreeze on the dirty socks you need for that race you're about to go run, and win.
I love you, Brosef!