I am the oldest of four children, and today is my “little” brother’s birthday. Philip is sixteen today, but as I told him this morning, I think I’ve been telling people he’s sixteen for the last four months because he never really looked fifteen. Well, maybe he did, but that would have been two years ago.
Philip is at the top of my “Opinions that Matter to Me” list and has held that position probably his entire life.
He’s the model of a dedicated student, having carried a harder school load for the last two years than I ever have, and still makes better grades than I did.
And, thankfully, he’s not just smart.
My brother is the funniest person I’ve ever met and probably ever will meet. We can have a perfectly serious conversation peppered with inside jokes and misunderstood words and just plain “Philip” stuff that keeps the mood light.
He is one of the most knowledgeable people under the age of twenty-six that I know when it comes to the Lord and the Bible.
Philip and I created worlds when we were younger, building spy organizations, goat farms, bad-guy bases, and more out of LEGOs. Our Bonicles fought villains, had kids, went to kholi tournaments, and always ended up saying things that entered into our daily speech.
We had a deal when it came to playing together: we could have a long battle if my characters could have a wedding. This satisfied both of us, and Philip, as my girl’s dad, got a lot of practice interviewing prospective husbands.
For the last three years or so, Philip has been into photography. Most of the photos of my family that you see on this blog were taken by him. His nature photography will leave you breathless and I’m still trying to figure out how to get it out to more people.
Adults love him, little kids can’t get enough of him (I’m totally not kidding), teens think he’s a senior in high school, and I just get to stand there all smug and say, “Oh yeah, that’s my brother.”
I reference him all the time in conversation. I go to him when I need a question answered. He listens (eventually). He reads. He answers.
He is the best brother anyone could EVER ask for. His sisters know that, and so do his friends.
Philip is my go-to-guy for those puzzles that distract from the story of the Nancy Drew Games we always play together.
He kills bugs.
He opens things.
His closest friends are two boys who live five hours away. They’ve been best friends since they were probably four or five and see each other every summer.
I love watching them see each other again because it’s always the same, year after year.
Caleb will come in first. Philip will smile shyly, a little worried that maybe they’ve changed and they won’t be as close anymore. And then Zachary comes in, sees my brother, and says
At that point, Philip is caught up in a bear hug and before we can blink all three of them are crammed into Philip’s tiny room and we can hear the laughter all over the house.
So happy birthday, Philip. No one can ever replace you and I wouldn’t want them to. I love you, Little-Brother-Who-Isn’t-So-Little.
Your Short Sis.