Dear Joe,

Sweet Bo-Bo. I remember the night you were born. We had Sarah Ann’s birthday party that night. Grammy and Grandaddy were there. Mom put us all to bed. I begged her to wake me up if she had to go to the hospital. She didn’t. When I woke up, Grammy was on the couch reading the paper. She told me I had a new little brother. The funniest part was that we called you “Will” for 10 days before Dad decided you were going to be “Joe.” He said you were named after Mr. Joe and you should actually be called by his name. You were named after one of Dad’s favorite people and someone he admired and loved so much. That’s a big deal. You and I both got special names because we were named after remarkable people.

You were a cute, fat, little baby. It was like we skipped the baby stage and swooped into the toddler phase. You were so funny and we all fought over you. You were my sweet baby, but alas, you chose Sarah Ann. You became her “best buddy.” I don’t know what it is about her. She whips you all into shape and you love her all the more. I give you whatever you want and you all play me like a fiddle. It took Ben for me to see it though. Little Stinker. :)

You had a sweet tooth that no one could challenge. Remember how Mom used that to potty train you? Yes, I just talked about your potty training experience on my blog. Your welcome.

I love you so much. You are kind, generous, smart, and very funny. I didn’t realize until Thanksgiving when we were all talking about the things were were thankful for, that you are not a little boy anymore. You are so grown. In a way, it makes me sad, but I am so proud of the person you have become. You make people feel so welcome and warm when they are in your presence. That is a gift. No, it’s not a tangible gift like others might be, but it is so special. Relationships are one of the most important things you can nourish in life. Because when matieral things are gone, people will still be here. And you love people so well.

I am so glad you are my brother. I admire you for bravely taking on the task of being the oldest one at home and tending to Katie and Ben. I respect you for standing up for youself. And I love you for no other reason than because you are Joe.

If they lined up all the 15 year olds in the world and told me to pick, I would still choose you.