Today is my younger nephew’s birthday. He’s 19. I don’t quite know how these 19 years have sped by so quickly. He is the youngest of his class, having been born just before the cutoff. So last year he headed off to college while still only 17. Now he is entering his sophomore year at Baylor.
I have so many great memories of Connor. Despite having a quite talkative older brother, Connor managed to make his place in the family and find plenty to say. We laugh about when he was learning to crawl. He would crawl industriously around the house, but with his head facing straight down. He would inevitably bump right into a wall. Then he would stop, look startled, turn, and resume crawling. Seems like that is still how he deals with roadblocks… they never phase him. He turns and finds another way, without complaint.
When he played baseball on his Diamondbacks team in elementary school, I never could find him on the field. All the 7-year-olds look alike when they have on purple uniforms and caps. But if they were ever running, there was no doubt which child was Connor. He was the fastest runner on the field. Always.
Connor has always been a “giver.” On my 40th birthday, Mark had a big surprise party for me. When Connor heard they were going to my party, he insisted on finding me a gift, even though his mother told him they had a “family” gift for me. He went to the flower garden and picked blooms and pressed them under glass in a frame.
When he was 14, he asked for an electric guitar for his birthday. I visited about two months later. Already he was playing songs for me. And not just songs he had “learned.” You could ask him to play a song and he would just play it, without thinking. It was pretty incredible (still is!). I remember he was goofing around and put his new guitar behind his neck like Jimi Hendrix (one of his heroes at the time). I said, “Play ‘Deep in the Heart of Texas.’” He played it behind his head without having ever having picked it out before. Amazing.
He was the drum major for one of the biggest high school bands in the state for two years. As the head drum major his senior year, he took Coppell to the State band competitions and they were 7th in the state, I think. He learned a lot about discipline and leadership in that position.
Now he’s in college and he’s become a Community Leader in his dorm (like a resident advisor for the freshman on his wing). He will guide 31 Freshmen this year. Plus he’s working as a youth leader at a local church three nights a week, too. I have counted up at least 17 hours of working commitment that doesn’t include “taking care” of the kids on his wing— that on top of a full study load. He got a new X-box Madden game for his birthday, but I don’t know when he’s going to have time to play! He also is dating a lovely girl at another college, so I’m sure there will be some coordinated trips back to Dallas to see her.
Obviously, I’m proud of Connor. I’ve always had a soft spot for him. As a youngest child myself, I sympathize with him being the youngest child in a house full of oldest children that know how to get their way! Connor has done quite a nice job of standing up for himself.
Mark took this today so he isn’t in the picture. When I “develop” the pictures I got, I may put one of us with our birthday-celebrating nephew. We all met up at the Elite Cafe in Waco for a celebratory lunch. I’m so glad the boys are at college together and even more glad that it is accessible for us all. It’s Brandt on the right (a junior now at Baylor) and Connor on the inside by his Dad and Meema. I have some great pictures of Connor and Brandt trying on my lipstick and necklaces and others wearing my hat and carrying my flowers from the wedding. I’m saving those until I meet one of his girlfriends.