I met my husband's family over 7 years ago now. He is the oldest of 5 kids with a younger sister and brother who both married the year after us and then 2 younger siblings who are 14 and 16 years younger. Jesse was 10 years old when we were married and Juli was only 8. They were such fun kids. I never had younger siblings, so I enjoyed getting to know them. I imagined that they thought I was cool. The jury is still out about whether that was true or not. Now that they are both taller than my 5'10", I don't feel nearly as cool.
We were able to watch Jesse play football yesterday and I was thinking back about my first memories of him. He was a real funny kid and was always making jokes. He loved sports and took any opportunity he could to play or work outside. I thought he was a sweet kid and always hoped he wouldn't lose that as he grew up.
(John, Jesse, Jayne, Jeff, and Juli with Mom and Dad at our wedding in 2002)
Jeff has no idea why he looks stoned in this picture, but asks that you keep your snickering to a minimum.
Jesse is now 16 years old and has changed a great deal. He is 6'4" and a strong, good looking guy, instead of a little kid. You wouldn't recognize him from the picture above -- he stands many inches above his brother who is 14 years older than he. Even though he's grown-up, his sweet spirit remains. Jesse's personality attracts people. I am impressed with how he relates with others, young and old. The kids love him and Emma calls him, "My Uncle Jesse." That's his name and even corrects us when his name comes up. She says, "You mean, my Uncle Jesse?"
She thinks he is extraordinary.
Yesterday we watched Jesse play a good game, closer in points than most of the others. The Central team is really smokin' their opponents this year. As we cheered for Jesse's athleticism, I thought of how we often forget to cheer on the younger generation for the characteristics that keep them living for Jesus when they are all grown up. I am proud to have a younger sibling who has such substance.
* I think of these things because I have a hard time following the football game. Cheerleaders and quality character, that's where my mind is.
We have good people in our family and I know we are blessed. Both Jesse and Juli are growing into amazing adults *gulp* (time goes by so fast). Emma and her cousins can keep looking up to their Uncle Jesse. He's a good hero. I pray that someday when we are snickering at the pictures from this time that we see more than the funny styles and changed bodies of our little kids all grown up. I pray we see that our children have grown into admirable young people, worthy of being looked up to.
For those of you who care about the football game as well as quality characteristics in the players, Central won the game and is headed for a State championship (we hope!).