Saturday, January 12, 2013
This is my little brother, Tanner. I love him. Today is his birthday, so I want to honor him with a little blog tribute.
The first time that I met Ryan's family, I was nervous. I remember walking into the house and meeting his mom, making small talk and feeling a little awkward and intimidated--and then Tanner came bounding into the room. He was a squirrely eleven-year-old boy, and he greeted me with a huge grin. He stuck his hand out to me and said, "Hi, I'm Tanner! I've heard a lot about you!" We all chuckled, and it totally broke the ice. I shook his hand and introduced myself, and Tanner and I have been buddies ever since. I've always felt absolutely at ease around Tan, even early on in Ryan's and my courtship. Tanner was young and sweet and so much fun.
I remember going to one of his little league baseball games and having a Twinkie picnic afterward and steamrolling down the grassy hill. I remember sitting next to him on the drive home from the game and showing him my photos from the Easter Seals summer camp where I worked, and he looked at me with these big, interested, amazed eyes and asked me questions about all of the kids. I remember sitting on a Love Sac next to his bed and talking about middle school, girls, friends, and teenage drama. I remember when, during my first trip to the family cabin in Sun Valley, Ryan asked him how long he wanted me to stay around, and Tanner responded, "Forever!" Ryan and I got married about a year after that, so Tanner was indeed stuck with me as his sister forever.
He is very affectionate and has always made me feel so loved. Though he is all grown up now, he still gives me big, tight hugs every time he sees me. We've always been able to talk about just about anything. During this recent trip to Sun Valley, Ryan and I stayed in the loft with Tan, and one night, Tan and I laid in our beds across the room from each other and talked late into the night. Every few minutes, I would hear through the darkness, "Hey, Rach? You awake?" And then we would talk about something for a while, until it got quiet again for a minute, and then I'd say, "Hey, Tan?" and the conversation would go on. I loved it. It is one of my most precious memories from the trip.
I am grateful that after more than 20 years of having only sisters, I gained three brothers when I married into the Nielson family. (More on the other two when their birthdays roll around!) I am grateful that Tanner is such a loving uncle to Noah. You can see it in his face when he is around Noah...he just adores him. When we met the family at Market Street Grill during my "perfect day" a few weeks ago, Tanner watched Noah throughout the whole meal with an amused smile on his face. I said, "Isn't he awesome, Tan?" And Tanner responded, "I can't stop watching him! He's just so amazing!" :) I love seeing these two together.
I will always love Tanner as that eleven year old boy that I first knew. He will always be my little brother. But I am also so proud of him for the man that he has become, and I look forward to watching his life unfold in the coming years.
Happy Birthday, T! I love you more than words can say, and I hope to see you very, very soon.