Happy 19th Birthday Trip! At each birthday of yours, I always have the same thought- "How is he already __ years old?!" I think I will always see you as my baby brother, maybe around 10 or 12 years old. Maybe all older sisters do. But you are now (and have been for a while) a young man that I could not be more proud of.
I remember the night you were born, before we went to the hospital, Holly and I were running around the front yard telling our friends that our baby brother was almost here. We may not have been as excited when we first found out you were a boy (I remember something about us both bursting into tears, haha), but we were as excited as can be that night. I remember getting to hold you at the hospital for the first time and in the pictures I can see that you were exactly as I remember- perfect, sweet, and already so handsome. Holly and I would race home from school every day and one of the first things we said to Mom was "Is Trip awake!" Most of the time you were taking a nap, but we always asked because we couldn't wait to wake you up so we could play with you.Even as a little kid, you always had the cutest mischievous smile. You have always loved being outside and playing with axes, machetes, BB guns-- Mom and Dad clearly had a more independent style of parenting with you than with me or Holly. :) One of my favorite stories is you cutting one of Dad's seatbelts in his car with scissors. I guess you just decided you didn't want to wear a seatbelt and would take care of it yourself. Of course, you also had your share of blame for things you didn't do-- "I don't know who did it, but it wasn't my baseball bat!" are some of the sweetest words an older sister, with a penchant for pushing friends in a rolling chair into walls for fun, can hear.
As you have grown up, I have caught glimpses of the young man you are becoming and, still, glimpses of the playful little boy I knew. In high school you developed a passion for cross-country and track and immediately superseded any athletic ability I had ever been able to cultivate in myself. You worked so hard, getting up early before school to run several miles- as you and I are about the same level of "morning person" (which is zero, maybe negative), I know how disciplined you must have been to commit the way you did. You won so many awards, and though I was always proud to hear of your latest, I was and still am most proud of you for the dedication you had. Although talent like yours is rare, talent itself doesn't require much from a person- but you didn't possess just talent, you also showed a great ability to work very hard. Never forget these lessons and what they taught you about yourself and your ability to do what at first seems impossible.I wish so many things for you- that you will be happy, that you will find a fulfilling career, that you will marry someone who is loving and thoughtful, but most of all, baby brother, the most important things of all, is your relationship with a God who loves and cares for you. I pray that through your college and adult years, you will come to experience more and more the abundant joy of walking beside Him, that you might believe that He is better- better than all that you have, better than your dreams or goals, better than life and breath itself. He is better.
And of course, remember that your big sister loves you.
I am so proud of you. Happy 19th Birthday, Trip!