He's my brother
I'm the second child between two boys. My older brother is two and a quarter years more advanced than me. At least, he was when I was born. I'd argue I've actually caught up by now.
He loved me very much, apparently. (I think the firearm in this photograph is about protection, not aggression.)
My first conscious memory comes from when I was 20 months old and at the hospital with him and my grandma. We had come to visit my mum who had just had my new baby brother. In those days they kept the babies in the nursery behind a big window. We weren't allowed to cuddle him but we could take a look through the glass.
My big brother was tall enough to see into the window but I wasn't. I struggled on my tip toes for what, to a toddler, felt like a long time, not able to see anything. But it was no good. The window was out of my reach.
It was at that point that my big brother, himself only just four years old, put his arms around my waist. He hoisted me up so that I could get my nose over the window sill. There in front of me were babies in their cribs. And one of them was mine! I looked until my poor brother's arms fell off and my Grandma kindly picked me up to get a better view.
It struck me today as I was thinking about the memory, that it exemplifies my big brother perfectly. If he can see a way to help, he will. He might not do a perfect job, or the task might even be too big for him. But he gives it a go anyway. He doesn't hesitate to lift others up, to support them, to do whatever is in his power to give them a better view.
Of course we've had our differences over the years and I can't pretend to have been the perfect sister. But I think he's a very special person in his quiet, godly, supportive habits. He doesn't pick me up any more, literally or figuratively (although I'm sure he would if I needed it.) These days, quite rightly, he gives his support, love and energy to his amazing wife and three beautiful step children, and rather large deck that needs replacing.
As a sister, I'm so proud of him. As a friend, I think he's very special.