Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Next Year I will Make Cheesecake

Today is the day my oldest brother, Matt, was born. My parents were so young---my mom was 20 and my dad was 23. Being the firstborn, there are a lot of stories of Matt's young childhood.  My dad likes to tell a little ditty of the day he was born. Dad told Mom Matt looked like a monkey. Mom cried.

Matt could walk at 8 months and could recite every nursery rhyme under the sun by the time he was a year old. His first word was "cocky." (My dad is a little mischievous.)  Matt was fast. Matt was athletic. Matt was popular. Homecoming king, in fact. I was in first grade and probably 6 years old that year.  All of the high school girls liked me (because of Matt, I'm sure).  They gave me those knotted thread bracelets (only to be worn on your left wrist, mind you).  I sat next to those girls during coronation. One asked me who I wanted to win, and I said I didn't care. (Of course I did!)  When Matt won, I jumped into his arms to hug him in the receiving line.  That embrace made the newspaper.

Matt was always my favorite sibling.  We rarely fought. Probably because we were so far apart in age.  Even when he was mad at me, like the time I told on him for piercing his ear (ha!), he didn't hold a grudge for long.   He was a sweet talker and I begrudgingly did things for him I really didn't want to do.  I just couldn't say no to him.

Matt gave me the most beautiful little niece and goddaughter, Kaitlin. She is one of the lasting reminders we have of him since he died in a car accident the day after my high school graduation.  Kaitlin was just shy of her third birthday.  And, even though she doesn't remember much of him, I try to remind her of how much Matt loved her.  He was one of the most devoted dads I have ever seen.

Sometimes I'm sad about losing my oldest brother. I'm sad he didn't see me graduate from college, get married, have a baby of my own. I wonder what he'd be doing now. What he'd look like. But, mostly I just miss him. Miss confiding in him.  I am, however, grateful. Grateful that I had 18 years with him. Grateful that we still have Kaitlin in our lives. Grateful that we were raised in a Christian family and, therefore, grateful that I will be with Matt again one day.

And, can I just add that I have the strongest mother on earth?  You see, I always only knew how it felt to lose a brother. And, now that I have a child of my own who has only been here five and a half months, I can't even bear to think of losing her.  Gemma and I baked some sweets and brought them to my mom at work today. We were celebrating Matt's life.  Mom was reminiscing a little and reminded me that Matt always requested cheesecake for his birthday. I can't believe I forgot that. It's my favorite dessert, too. Next year and probably every year after that, I will make cheesecake.

P.S. In no way am I trying to paint Matt as an angel on earth.   He had his fair share of faults, as we all do.  One of my favorite memories is of him outrunning the cops on his friend's motorcycle. He ditched the motorcycle and ran into our house.  My parents probably made a poor decision and told the cops they hadn't seen Matt since he had left earlier that night.  Bad kid, bad parenting. ha!  Anyway, I don't want to talk about his bad traits.  I just want to remember the good.  For today, anyway.


  1. This is so beautiful Aleta....brought tears to my eyes. Thinking of you and your family today.

  2. This post pretty much made me cry. Love you Letie!!!
    -Katie B