Dear little brother, 

I remember before you were born I didn’t know what to make of you, what the heck was I going to do with a brother? What did brothers do anyways? In fact for a few years you were “Chrissy” BUT I soon learned… 

Brothers push you on the ground, throw ice chunks at you for fun, stand on your hair and try to pull you up… brothers tease you and, thrive off giving you a hard time. Brothers sometimes let you dress them up, they are great at taking the blame for crap you did. Brothers are secret best friends that although you may not recognize it every day, they are always on your side. 

Kids will be kids and that we were, but being five years older then you I got to appreciate you from a whole different perspective as we grew. In so many ways we were complete and utter opposites, you so loveable and outgoing and hilarious and me so shy and quiet and cautious – – but your genuine personality, sense of humour and love of life are things I’ve always admired so much. You were always the peacemaker in our house, between my attitude and Danie’s wild side I swear you’re the only reason that mom and dad always ended up laughing and “forgetting” about silly drama. When you took an interest in something you mastered the craft, you learned it backwards and forwards, I admire your determination. You were always the smartest (not fair) – – both Danie and I would agree how annoying it was to watch you naturally be good at everything and be book smart even though it wasn’t necessarily something you were interested in haha.  As we got older we had more in common,  I looked forward to spending time with you – – some of the best memories I have are smiling and laughing with you. 

I look at you now, a young man and I cannot even begin to describe the mixed emotions I have! Watching you grow I knew that you would make something of yourself in your own time, as you always danced to the beat of your own drum. I watched you learn to drive,  graduate high school, become a journeyman electrician, get a job, party…and now you’re engaged to the love of your life! I never expected to feel as protective of you as I do. Maybe being away has made that way – –  I never knew I could miss you so much. There are days when I am driving around and hear a song or see a funny Instagram post and burst out laughing because it reminds me of you and I wish I could see you and laugh with you.   I so appreciate our time together, although I feel it is never quite enough. I’m so happy that you have Jen and that you’re SO happy!

You are not a little boy anymore, and haven’t been for quite some time, I think I will always see you as 5 years old for the most part, but honestly I couldn’t be more proud of the man you have become. You make me proud to call you my brother every single day, I will always have your back no matter what.

Although you may not be little anymore, I am still older then you (even though Danie and I are both vertically challenged) so I will leave you with some words of wisdom as you grow another year wiser. 

–       If something seems too good to be true, it probably is (trust your gut and make the best choices for YOU and Jen). 

–       Life is too short to be unhappy, make decisions that make you smile. Sometimes you need to put you first, like only you can.

–       Say I love you as much as you can and mean it, tomorrow is not promised. 

–       Make time for the people and things that are important to you, again, tomorrow is not promised. 

–       Stand up for yourself when you know you are right, don’t be arrogant, be firm… you are intelligent and strong, never let anyone tell you otherwise. 

–       Stay young and have FUN! Don’t let anyone tell you to grow up or to change your spirit for life – – continue to live!

–       Share your humor; it is one of your greatest attributes! If someone doesn’t find you funny, they are probably deaf… Don’t be offended. 

–       Be appreciative and grateful for all that you have, it didn’t come out of nowhere. We are SO FORTUNATE to have had the upbringing we had, always remember where you came from. 

Last but not least know that I love you, know that I miss you every day and look forward to every facetime, text and phone call because living away from you will never be easy. Know that no matter how far apart we are I am always just a phone call away. I will get on a plane and be there for you as fast as I can, and I am always here if you need help! You have taught me so many things in your 25 years; I cannot wait to see what your future brings! 

I hope you have a wonderful birthday and celebrate in the best way possible! 

Haha Love ya Critter!