Fathers and sons.

The first time I saw my younger brother as a man was at my dad’s memorial service. At the last minute, and unbeknownst to me and my mom, he decided to share a few thoughts at the end of the service. As he stood there, sharing his thoughts and doing his best to honor our dad, I saw him as I had never seen him before, standing tall and communicating himself in a powerful way.

That’s not to say that he had never acted as a man before, just that I hadn’t had the opportunity to see him in that light. We are about as opposite as two siblings can be, and in our early 20s, we did not have a whole lot in common. I did not know the kind of person he was becoming, and I am grateful that that has changed in the past couple of years. We might not be very similar, but we have the same sense of humor, and I love how that comes out on holidays. And when we make fun of my mom for only eating half of whatever is in front of her. I love it when he praises the things I cook, because he will not praise it unless he means it. I like to hear his constructive criticism on recipes, too, even if it’s hard for me to hear, because he always has good thoughts on how to improve them. He gave us all reason to laugh on Christmas Day when we were creating our Miis on the Wii that he gave me and Mike. He let me call him and cry a few weeks ago when I was sad about Dad missing Mike’s graduation.

Most of us spend our 20s worrying about ourselves and discovering who we are. My brother moved back home to help my dad when my mom was sick, and he stayed at home when my dad was sick. He continues to be there for my mom in ways that I cannot. He is one of the people I know I can call when I need advice or need to talk. He has helped me through all kinds of problems, including house problems I can no longer call Dad about. (I called him just last week about a homework issue, and he called back the next day to make sure it had all worked out for me.) We have our differences, but I continue to be amazed at his generosity and compassion and intelligence. I am thankful for his presence in our lives, and I wonder sometimes if we will ever be able to repay him for all the ways he has helped us in the past few years.

And so, on Father’s Day, I want to honor my dad by saying these things. Look, Dad, your son is taking great care of us all. I know you are proud of him. I wish you were here to see it.

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