I want to start with an apology to my readers for my decline in activity of late. So many of you have been so encouraging of my posts, I’ve had all of your “don’t stop writing!” voices in my head for a couple of months now and I hope this message finds you well. I’ve had some minor medical complications to deal with and frankly, I was trying hard not to make my writing feel like homework. Instead, I want to post when I feel most inspired, which unfortunately means less often, but I hope to continue to bring you good quality! Anyway, this post is about my brother, so let’s get to it!
My youngest brother, Scott, is an exceptional man. Boy, did he take a beating growing up. He had the unfortunate dinner table seat right next to mine and I never let him forget it. I was ruthless. The poking, the joking, the pushing and shoving. Most of all, the relentless flipping of his ears. And whenever I had the chance, I actually picked him up by his ears. Don’t worry, he was holding on with all his might to my forearms, so not all the pressure was on his ears, but yes, that was an ongoing torture.
Fortunately, at our dinner table, more than the teasing and the ribbing, was the love. I can’t thank my parents enough for making the dinner table so important in our lives. We ate together….always. Up until maybe the times when sports practices in high school made the timing difficult, it was dinner together always. And whatever antics went on during dinner, they almost always culminated in uncontrollable laughter and the natural back-and-forth that ensues when you have a close knit family that truly loves each other’s company. We respected each other, and we all had something to contribute, each of us had our quirks that when landed at the right time, made the whole table burst out in laughter. It was priceless. The only time it got us in trouble is when we were supposed to be praying, but instead couldn’t hold our laughter. Mom didn’t like that, but inevitably, there were times when she had no choice but to just join in.
Scotty had a childhood any boy could envy. The baby of the family, so certainly a lot of things that he got to do because our parents were just tired of saying “No,” the way they did to us, especially me, as the eldest. I got away with nothing…he got away with everything. He also got away with the red BMW, while I drove Grandpa C’s 1977 Cadillac Coupe DeVille to school. Man, he was lucky. He had great friends, many in the neighborhood, so whether it was his school life, or his summer life, he always had playmates that kept him on the straight and narrow, for the most part. Our house was the one that every neighborhood has, with the revolving front door. It was never locked, shoes never needed to come off, and everyone was always welcomed. You just showed up.
I was so proud of his accomplishments growing up. A star soccer player, a star basketball player, and a darned good student. When it was time for college, he followed his dream right from the start: Sports Management at Western New England College. Following undergrad, he went right on to get his MBA at Wagner College on Staten Island, NY. He ran the athletic complex there while he studied. He accomplished, so quickly, what takes many people years to do. The best part, of course, was that he met Jackie there. In perfect progression, he was moving step-by-step through life’s stages and I was so happy for him. The best way I can express my gratitude for our relationship, is to share with you the speech I wrote for the rehearsal dinner of his wedding. It goes like this…
It’s an honor to be standing up here with my siblings. I want you to know, Scott, how much it’s meant to me, to always be able to count on our friendship. I guess one of the things I’m most proud of is the way that siblings grow on each other. When you spend as much time together as we have, you begin to talk like each other, think like each other, and influence each other. We taught each other how to be best friends. When you’ve never known what it’s like to be alone, that makes for a pretty wonderful life.
I think we’re great friends because we have an uncommon understanding of the value of friendship, family values, and a positive outlook on life. Scott is fun to be around, he’s compassionate, and he’s a man of his word. I admire his appreciation for life’s simple pleasures. A family meal, a swim in the pool, watching the game, a trip to the bar. I know he’s gonna make an incredible father someday. And, Jackie, as far as a husband, I can guarantee you he knows how to be a best friend.
He’s weird though. He changes the channel on the radio if the national anthem comes on. Not because he’s not patriotic…but because he’s so patriotic that he feels uncomfortable listening to the national anthem without taking his hat off, standing at attention, facing a flag and placing his hand over his heart. Anything less is just not the appropriate way to listen to that song.
Scotty’s a stand-up guy. I’m more of a sit down guy. He does things for a reason. I nap whenever presented with a soft, flat surface…he naps when he has a hangover. I play beer pong to remind myself of why I stayed off the basketball court…Scotty plays to beat Shawn. I play racquetball to see Scotty’s cheeks turn bright rosy red…Scotty plays to beat Mike Simon.
And when Scotty met Jackie…he had met his match. Jackie is competitive, but she’s fair and she’s kind…and she’s beautiful. When you know your brother so well that you can finish his sentences, it didn’t take us long to realize that Scott and Jackie were perfect for each other, and that she was everything he’d ever wanted in a soul mate. I’m not saying he’s fast. I think he’s been with Jackie longer than I’ve been a husband and father. But he’ll make up for it…he’s got a lot of love to give.
Marriage is not about finding a person you can live with, it’s about finding the person you can’t live without. My brother has found that person. I’m very proud of you, Scott. I’m very proud of the person you are and of the commitment you’re making tomorrow. You deserve the best life has to offer.
Our friendship means the world to me. It’s an honor to be your brother. May your marriage bring you to all the places you’ve never been, but always wanted to go. And may the Lord watch over your home and bless your marriage with all the love two hearts can hold.
Please join us in a toast…To love, laughter, and happily ever after…To Scott & Jackie.
The wedding was great, the marriage is great and now, they have a son, Braden, who is just a couple months younger than our Elliott, and an absolutely adorable addition to our family. Their second son is due in August. Scott works at something he loves – he is a personal trainer, mostly for kids. He is a great husband, he is a great dad and I will forever be immensely proud of my youngest brother.
I just had the pleasure of taking my 18 month old, Elliott, to Scott & Jackie’s place on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland over the weekend. A quick round trip from Saturday morning to late Sunday night. But it was priceless – the bonding with my younger son and the precious time with Scott’s young family. I love you, Scott. May God continue to bless you and your beautiful family.