Surrender 137: Happy Birthday Bryan

In my family, May is a big month for birthdays, providing ample opportunities for celebrations. Today the person I’m happy to honor is my brother, Bryan. When my dad and stepmom announced they were expecting, I fervently hoped for a baby brother. I had two wonderful sisters. It was time to have a boy in the family. I held my breath, listening to my dad on the phone after the baby’s birth. The announcement came…it’s a boy! Curtis Bryan Lauderdale had arrived. 

I am 14 years older than my brother. My sisters are 12 and 8 years older than Bryan, respectively. Born into a family of girls, this boy never lacked for arms to carry him and cuddle him, or for someone to “play me toys” in his room. We doted on him, and happily so. He was adorable and good natured, then and now. 

I have never lived with my brother, except for the long lazy summers while on school break. Until I married, I spent at least a part of each summer with my dad. And even after I had children of my own, my kids and I would spend a week with Dad and my stepmom Jerri, and Bryan. Those summers were when I made up for the time we spent apart, and got to know my brother. As he grew into a young man, I had the opportunity to see his strengths.  He’s smart and funny, a great communicator, affectionate, with a bright, optimistic outlook on life. He still calls me Sister, which I love. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard him call me by my name. 

Participating in the Color Run, with son Fox. 

Looking up Bryan’s name I found this: 

Bryan, you can go to great heights and equally great depths. You can be emotional, yet solid in your opinions. You are hospitable, sentimental, often psychic, sometimes moody. You are ruled by love or the lack of it, and feel a need to be encouraged and appreciated. You are inventive, intuitive and methodical. Since your will is so strong, you can be hard to convince. You also dislike advice. You love beauty and philosophy, and you desire achievement. You have a strong need for freedom – physical, mental and spiritual.

You find the best contentment in life when you own your own home and provide well for your family and loved ones. You have a great sense of responsibility and duty. You are comforting, appreciative and affectionate.

Those words describe well the man that my brother has become. He is hospitable, which to me means more than welcoming someone into his home. He’s open, welcoming others into his presence, into his life. He’s like my dad that way. Bryan does appreciate beauty and the arts, frequenting plays, musicals, movies and the ballet with his lovely wife, Christel. He runs in races with his sons and Christel and his mom joins in often too. 

Bryan provides well for his family, in all ways. He loves his wife and enjoys being with her. They share many common interests. And he’s a great dad, fathering his sons with grace and love, leading by example, showing and receiving affection. I’m so proud of the man this baby brother has become. 

Our dad passed away six years ago, journeying down a path we could not yet follow, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. I look at my brother now, and I see my dad in his kind brown eyes, with the spark of mischief, and in the beautiful smile. I know Dad is proud of his boy too, and rightfully so. 

I see the strong family resemblance to my son Nate as well, who looks so much like my dad and brother. When Bryan’s first born, Cade, was a toddler, he often held his arms up to my son at family gatherings, thinking Nate was his dad. I love that not only do these three men share physical characteristics, they also have the same great hearts and share a strong sense of justice and fairness. 

My dad, my brother, my son. 

I’m grateful for Bryan, and this opportunity to celebrate his life and who he is. May we journey together for years yet to come, so that I may continue to discover more and more about him. Happy birthday, Brother! I love you!