Tuesday, July 25, 2017

For My Little Brother

I wrote the following for a writing class. The assignment was to choose a significant person and write a series of "I remember" statements and go from there.  I love what emerged when I recalled memories of my little brother.  I think it's blog worthy😊

I remember  . . .

MARK—my little brother.  We are only two years apart and have always been very close.  I can’t imagine life without him.

I remember the summer you and I got to go to Grandma and Ivan’s all by ourselves!  We even got out of school for the summer a week early and rode the train from Alliance to Lincoln.  The train trip was long, but waiting for us when we arrived were both Grandma and Ivan.  They were thrilled to have us all to themselves, and they planned the week out with all kinds of fun.   From swimming in Wahoo to grocery shopping to visiting Bessie on the farm to visits from Ethel, we packed in so much during that short week.  The best part was just being with my little brother at our grandparents’.

I remember when we were running around the bowling alley while Dad bowled with his weekly league.  You were chasing me, and I so desperately didn’t want to get caught.  I ran like crazy and just when I thought I might escape you, the gumball machine ended that .  I grabbed the pole trying to propel myself around the obstacle.  Little did I know that my strength was stronger than that gumball machine.  Crash—the glass container shattered and hundreds of brightly colored gumballs rolled in all directions.

I remember family road trips where you always got to sit in the front seat.  I would get so jealous seeing the back of your head tucked safely between Mom and Dad as we rolled down the never-ending Highway 2 in Nebraska.  I wished that just once I could have that coveted spot, but I always had to settle for glaring at your head and the back of your ears.  I got my revenge once though.  As I sat in back chewing my bubble gum, I might have leaned up just a tad too close.  At the same time I realized my bubble gum’s textured changed, you let out a howl that made Dad threaten to pull the car over.  Your ear lobe became my chewing gum for a split second, and it was so worth it!

I remember Joy and I talking you into going to see Kris and Rita at Red Rocks.  We were all so poor back then, and none of us could really afford the trip.  But we scrounged up enough money for tickets and gas and we all piled into the car.  Not having money for overnight accommodations, that car became our hotel room.  We found a KOA to park, and all of us somehow slept the night away.

I remember when you were awarded the full-ride scholarship to Chadron State College.  I was so proud of you,

I remember when you came to visit me in Lincoln.  At least I thought you came to visit me, but somehow I think that was an excuse to get Mom and Dad to let you take the car for the weekend.  I saw you for one night and then you disappeared.  I wish you would have just told me that you wanted to go to Dodge City to see a girlfriend, but instead, I spent the weekend worried sick, imagining you in a car accident or murdered somewhere.  I have never been so relieved to see someone when you finally showed up on Sunday, sheepish and apologetic.  Don’t ever do that again!

I remember football season, spending our weekends glued to college games and placing our crazy wagers.  We always seemed to think we found a “cinch,” but as we learned time and time again, there are no cinches.  Those weekends during the fall and early winter still bring us close.

I remember the antennae tower.  Oh Lord, why can’t I forget that?  Dad’s amazing truck with the tower that would rise to the sky with the flip of a switch was ahead of its time, and a huge temptation to two small kids.  We flipped the switch while the truck was inside the garage.  Ugh—the sound of steel hitting the ceiling is forever etched in my head.  Make it go away!

I remember all of the Blue Bird and Campfire Girl meetings you attended when Mom was the leader of my troupe.  She would bring you along, and I always thought I would die when you would want to do the crafts that we were doing.

I remember when Dad died.  You became everyone’s pillar of strength even though you needed to grieve too.  I hope you were able to.

I remember ALL of the acts of kindness you have shown to me and everything you have done to make my life easier.  I can’t list them all, but I remember everything, from fixing my brakes, yard work, hanging ceiling fans, fixing anything, paying for things.  You take care of us.

What I can’t remember, though, is a time when you weren’t there for me.  You’re the best brother anyone could have.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Russell Lee

Our 8th Royal Baby arrived last fall!  (meet all of them here and here and here and here) Russell Lee Hawk was born to my nephew Nathan and his wife Lindsey on October 7, 2016. His arrival came just a bit early, resulting in a tiny but healthy 5 pound baby.
Lindsey, Nathan, and newborn Russell Lee
Homeward Bound
The wait to meat Russel was excruciating.  All my good intentions to get to Minneapolis after the forty day ban was over (only Mom, Dad, and grandparents met him at first)  didn't pan out until April.  Six months.  That was hard!  But oh my, was the wait worth it.
Grams and I get to meet Russell.  Finally!

I learned quickly that little Russell has the most adorable personality.  He is
(he grabs everything, especially hair!)
a wannabe foodie 
(he loves to taste anything he can reach!)
(that smile!) 
(rarely a cry out of this little guy)
(I dare you not to fall in love with him)

But of course he is--he is a miniature version of his dad.  Nathan has always had a smile that will melt your heart.  And Nathan has always been a foodie.  I have clear memories of him sitting on a stool at two years old enjoying fresh strawberries dipped in the sugar bowl or ordering sophisticated appetizers as a teen (no chicken fingers for Nate) or whipping up gourmet meals in the kitchen.

And his grandparents--my sister Kerri and her husband Marty raised their family with love and laughter.  They are passing that on to Russell Lee.  Marty loves to carry Russell around and Kerri loves reading to him.

Lindsey's parents adore Russell Lee as well.  They live close by, and Russell will always be surrounded by family.

Kerri and Marty with their first grandson
Nathan's brothers, Russell's uncles and my nephews, are absolutely gaga over him.  They carry him around, read to him, and let him join in video games.  Adam and Gabe will be amazing role models for our Russell.
Uncle Adam and Uncle Gabe

I can't wait to watch as Russell Lee, our 8th royal Baby, grows and changes.  Welcome to our beautiful world, baby Russell 💗
Growing up!