We are grown ups now (you, 18 and graduating from high school, and me, 22 and married) but we will always think of each other as fun-loving, trouble-making kids.
Growing up, it was always just you and me. On family vacations, you were the one who made it fun. Your witty comments and keen observations made those long car rides happy memories.
We knew how to have a good time together. You would never shoot down one of my ideas no matter how crazy they may have seemed to the rest of the world. When I decided that we should wear footie pajamas for Halloween you laughed, shook your head, and then went into your room to change.
You have always been so fun to be around.
But that's not all.
You also love me really well. There were so many nights when I would sneak into your room and we would talk for hours. I miss those nights more than anything. Those were the nights when we would talk about our relationships, our family, our secrets, our fears. We learned to do life together.
I loved that.
And then the day came when I went to college. I left you. I knew you were happy for me, but the reality was, our lives would never be the same again.
We both grew up a lot after that. We both made memories and decisions apart from each other. It was a good thing, but there were some nights that I would sit in my dorm room and wish your room was down the hall.
And then the day came when you gave me that last hug before I left the church with my new husband.
Your smile that night was really big, but I knew that Dad was not the only man giving me away. There are tears in my eyes right now. That was a wonderful wonderful day, but I know it wasn't easy for you.
Dave, you are my heart walking around on this earth. I love a lot of people, but no one quite like you. You have always been so quick to forgive, quick to laugh, quick to love, and quick to drop everything for me. Words cannot describe how thankful I am for you.
We have been able to love each other through some really sweet seasons and some really hard times. And now, no matter how far away we get from each other, know that you will always be a part of who I am. You helped shape me. You helped me love life.
You are my little brother, and I love you.