I was having lunch with my three-year-old goddaughter yesterday. At a certain point in the “conversation” (yes, it’s possible with a three-year-old and very interesting), we started talking about her little brother. “He’s my baby,” she said in her sweet little voice. And my mind went immediately to my own baby brother. “My baby brother will be twenty-one tomorrow,” I told her, and she laughed. “He’s not a baby!”

No, he isn’t. In fact, he has become quite a man in the past few years. So, if you will, allow me this post to celebrate the full twenty-one years that I have had the real honor of being this man’s sister. To those of you who know him, none of this will surprise you. If you don’t know him, I wish you did – let me give you a glimpse.

Hunter was hands-down the cutest baby and child ever to grace this planet. And he is also a good-looking man. He had huge blue eyes – still does – and chubby little cheeks. Chubby everything, really. He was kind of huge! He’s very fit and strong these days. He spoke his own language – an open mouth meant either ice or (in my case) “I’m going to bite you;” two tongue-clicks meant “Courtney” who lived across the street; things were yeah-yoe (yellow), crayons were (and I think still are) “Crowns” and I was “Doe.” He came into my world, and forced me to share center-stage, and I hated that, but never, ever, not even when I was trying to steal the stage back, did I not adore that child. He was and is “my baby.” Can’t you tell?

Some memories of those early days:

Growing up, he was my buddy. Even though we fought, and I was bossy, and he sometimes bit me (only until he was about two), we really got along pretty well. We were pals. I once “moved out” of our house and onto our driveway because I was mad about something, and about twenty minutes later, out came Hunter with his backpack and a stuffed animal. He wanted to move into my tent (a beach towel over an umbrella) with me. We had the best afternoon.

He is funny, yall! Like, really funny! But you have to be quiet and really listen to catch it. And he is kind and sweet and honest, and he really loves the people that he loves. He is just Hunter, and sometimes I take him for granted, but he is truly a treasure in our family.

Hunter, you amaze me. You are the best brother I could ask for. You are a great boyfriend – I have learned a lot about the man I hope to have one day by watching you. You are a good son, and a loyal friend. You have made my life a hundred times more fun. It has been a joy to grow up with you, and it has been a real joy to watch you grow up. I hope you aren’t embarrassed by my ramblings. You deserve all the attention you get today. I pray for you daily. I love you more than I could ever tell you. And I can’t wait to go to our ten hour handgun class together. I’ll keep you awake if you’ll keep me sane! Thank you for everything you bring to my life. Thank you for the honor it is to be your sister. I will always call you my baby brother, but, Baby Brother, you are a truly remarkable man.



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