May 18, 2011

more on Erik's influence.

"What do you like about Erik?"  

 It has been a long time since I last saw Erik so I am not sure what he is like today.  But, one of his strengths is that he is (most of the time anyway) in a good mood, ready to joke around and tease.  
 One time when we were at Mamie's, he and I were out in the car and he started with, "Uncle Bob you are my favorite uncle."  We talked about that for a few minutes before he said,  "Oh Uncle Bob, I sure am hungry for some good old Memphis barbecue. I told him I was as well,  "I tell you what Mr. Moneybags, why don't you take me out to lunch?  I'll drive us there and you pay." ( He had been bragging about how much money he had.) "No, Uncle Bob, Mamie wants you to take me for barbecue.  I'm not supposed to pay for you."  This went on for about 10 minutes before I gave in and took him to get barbecue.  As we ate, he let me know how much he was enjoying it, and on the way out he said, "You and Uncle Ed are my favorite uncles!"  

   His sweet and gentle nature...he is very sharp and has had a great memory..I always love to tease him because he takes it so well...He has a good heart.. He is an inspiration to me because I never see or hear him complain..He has a great attitude and is an example for others to follow.
I like that Erik is kind to people.  He's rarely cross with people, and then it's usually when it's provoked.  I like Erik because he prays for me, and I believe that God listens to him.   Erik is a hard worker who focuses on his tasks, and that's an amazing quality.  He takes initiative to express appreciation, and that's a tender thing to see in him.  Erik enjoys people, whether they be familiar friends or strangers. 
I met Erik when we were both in our young 20's and I was dating his sweet sister.  I knew by marrying Liz that Erik would play an important role in the rest of our lives together.  Being with Erik teaches me to slow down, not to be in such a rush, and to enjoy people. Having Erik as a brother in-law has also challenged me to be less self-centered and to think of others' needs.  In Erik, God has given me a constant reminder that if you extend kindness to "one the least of these, you have done it unto me."  When I read about God's defense of the weak and His calling to us to defend the weak, I know God is thinking about Erik (among many others). 
 anything else to add?
It's fun to see Erik laugh.  Yes it is!


"I was slightly brain damaged at birth, and I want people like me to see that they shouldn't let a disability get in the way. I want to raise awareness - I want to turn my disability into ability." - Susan Boyle

May 12, 2011

Erik - more stories

A few weeks ago I sent a question to some of our family members asking "What do you like about Erik?"  I received the response below from Rachel, who married our step-brother, Chris.   She's known Erik a long time and her beautiful answer was a little trip down memory lane.  Thank you Rachel.

"What do you like about Erik?"
I love Erik because he has such a sweet, gentle child-like nature.  I don't think he has a mean bone in his body. He always has a beautiful smile on his face.  I remember when I first started dating Chris...Erik liked Bernadette! (Erik's long-time girlfriend)  EVERY time I would see him he would pull out his wallet and show me a picture of Bernadette and I got to hear stories about her.  He made ME feel important because he was sharing with me.  Chris, Ashley and I had so many good laughs and good times with Erik.  

I also remember when he lived with that lady for a while....there was the coke money saga.  Erik would spend his weekly money on diet coke and he wasn't supposed to. I remember your dad would give him envelopes with his weekly money in it.  I can't tell you how MANY I would hear your dad on the phone with Erik in the middle of the week and he was out of money.  Remember when the lady he was living with said Erik wasn't changing his underwear? That was a whole ordeal! (well, unfortunately we're still dealing with this one)  CUTE stories!

But, the best one of all is when my dad had surgery at Baylor (hospital where Erik worked.  Read about it here).  My mom and I were in the waiting room and Erik frequented the hallway near the waiting room.  He was like a celebrity!  SO many people knew him and you could tell they thought so highly of him.  I bet I heard 30-40 "hello Erik's!"  I wanted to tell the whole world that he was family.  

Erik is just a one of a kind person.  Even Lexie (our dad's dog) finds gentleness and something special in Erik.  She chooses Erik's lap over most others.  The last time I saw Erik at Christmas, most times Lexi was curled up in Erik's lap!  
This makes me smile. Erik does have a way with animals.  Erik and dogs seem to communicate love and acceptance to each other without words.  

And, oh my, Erik and his sodas - tread carefully, that's dangerous territory.   He'd finish work and that would be his reward.  He'd day "Dad told me - drink diet!" then he'd pat his belly and say, "cuz, you know".

May 8, 2011

through Erik's eyes

Our Aunt Diane recently shared this memory of my brother with me:

I always loved Erik -- and have so many memories of him playing the guitar at Mamie's and singing "Little Green Apples".  I will never forget the lesson he taught me when our families met at the beach one summer. He and I would go out shell hunting and he would come back with every shell he found -- whether it was broken or not -- he treasured every one.  By the end of the week his washed shells covered the railings of the deck!  I have told that story many times because I think we all need to be able to see beauty like that -- even in the "broken" things of life.

beauty in the broken things.

May 4, 2011

siblings in the 60's

We grew up in the 60's.  
Shag carpet and paneling were in the living room. Our mom had a crazy beehive hairdo.  Our parents listened to Herb Alpert and Frank Sinatra. In the above picture Becky and I are wearing dresses made by our dear grandmother Mamie.  Erik's holding our puppy, Hopi.  I'm guessing it was Easter Sunday and my mom must have been expecting our younger brother.

Same room, younger brother has arrived.  We're sitting on that long, white couch that seemed as large as a boat to me. 

I love these 2 pictures.  They make me think of much simpler times.   They also cause me to ask...what would our family have been like if Erik hadn't had his handicap? 

What would it have been like for us to have an older brother who filled the role of an older brother?  Would he have been bossy...or protective over us?  Would he have resembled our mom or our dad more in his personality?  What would he have pursued as a career?

Because of our situation there was a time when Erik and I were at the exact same developmental stage. Then I passed him up. I assumed the role of first born even though I was born 2nd.  So later on, I babysat endlessly, I had to be responsible but I got to be the bossy one.  (Watch out.)   

If Erik hadn't had his handicap I'm sure that today I would not be managing his legal, financial, medical or travel affairs.  If he hadn't had his handicap he might be a husband and a daddy today.  He wouldn't have needed to trust every cashier he's ever done business with -- that they are taking the correct amount of money from him and giving him the correct change back.

These 4 kids on the couch are grown up.  The baby brother is now an airline pilot and daddy, younger sister is now an involved wife and mom of 3, I'm now a wife and mom of 2...and Erik is Erik.  We love him just as he is and wouldn't change a thing about him being our brother.  His life has been amazing.  My heavenly Father is sovereign; He makes no mistakes and I'm glad to know that and trust Him.