Every once in awhile I do Thankful Thursday posts that are dedicated to something specific (often times it’s running after half marathons). Today I’d like to dedicate this Thankful Thursday post to my youngest brother (soccer brother) who just graduated from college last Saturday.

IMG_3869I keep most information & pictures of my family members off my blog, but I thought I’d share this one (since he little and obviously doesn’t look like this today)- this is the day that I first met my brother, and the first time I ever held him.

I’m thankful for 4 “bonus years” with my brother. When I went 10 hours away to college, I never imagined us living in the same place again. He surprised me almost five years ago by asking if he could come stay with me while he had his official try out for the soccer team at the college. He decided to move down to go to college, and it’s been great to get to be around him for 4 more years.

I’m thankful for all the soccer games I got to attend. I missed out on 6 years of soccer games for my brother (and obviously those 6 years were really formative years in his soccer ability), so to be able to sit and watch him play collegiate soccer for 4 years was a true pleasure. I loved getting to sit in the stands and scream and cheer. I loved getting to hear all the fans talk about how great of a player my brother was. I loved getting to see him help lead his team to Nationals, be named conference player of the week, etc… I was thankful I was on the sidelines when he got his concussion and his other injuries, so I could help take care of him. I’m thankful I got to be his #1 fan for 4 years…. and I’m thankful that he’s not done with his soccer career yet.

I’m thankful for the hours we spent lifting (and the talks we had in the gym). The last three spring semesters we lifted almost every week together at the gym. While we occasionally lifted first thing in the morning, we usually lifted when he was done with class and I was done with work. It was a great time to catch up on one another’s lives. He taught me correct lifting form, and gave me a huge amount of different exercises to do. I hope I can continue “arms and abs” in a similar fashion to what we did, but having him there to help and encourage me can’t be replicated. I’m SO so sad that these times are ending, but I’m also thankful that they happened at all.

I’m thankful for the hours and hours of car trip time we’ve had. When he first moved here, I was a little annoyed because with 2 of us we drove home instead of flying (which I did the first 6 years)- driving 10 hours each way on holidays is long (hello holiday traffic jams), tedious, and takes away 2 days of the break. However, I look back on all the hours we spent sitting in a car together fondly. We sang, listened to books on tape, and had great conversations. I got to learn more about his life, his friends, and it was genuinely fun. I’ll really miss his company on those long trips home now…

I’m thankful for the races that he’s been at, along with all the advice he’s given me as I’ve trained. He really helped to calm my nerves as he came to my first half marathon, and I was so thankful that he was there. He ran those last 3 miles off to the side of the course, and it’s a great memory!

I’m thankful for his laughter and jokes, and I’m going to miss them! He’s not only the most athletic one in the family, but he’s also the comedian of the family. His quick jokes and play on words is so funny, and has added levity to tough days.

I’m thankful that I got to see my brother at random moments throughout my day. Because college classes aren’t always back to back, he had free hours throughout the day, and sometimes he’d pop over to my office just to say hi. I’m definitely going to miss that.

I’m thankful for the encouragement and hugs. Sometimes there’s just nothing like a family member hugging you in a tough moment, am I right? I was lucky to have a family member close to me over the past few years.

I’m thankful for the hours of movies and TV shows that we watched. We watched Frozen twice in the last week and a half, and yes- we sang along to it. I’m thankful that we had the chance to watch all of the seasons of “The League” this semester (it was such a fun way to end a busy day), and I’m thankful for all the hours of House we’ve watched.

Let’s be honest. I’m thankful for so many other things too. Really, I’m just thankful that I had 4 more years with my brother. I’m not sure if we’ll ever live in the same place (or even state) again- if he has his way (and I hope he does) he’ll be playing soccer in another country soon enough, and then I won’t really get to see him. I’m so thankful that we really had a chance to be friends instead of JUST siblings (because let’s be honest- the difference between elementary school and high school is huge, so we were always in pretty different life stages). I’m thankful he’s my brother.

Now it’s your turn to share. What’s one thing you’re thankful for in one of your siblings? Do you live close to or far away from your family members?

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