Monday, November 14, 2011


When I was 9 years old my sister and I went to a birthday party at
McDonald's for a kid my mom babysat for. 
I remember standing next to her when the boy's grandma came up to her and said,
"Congratulations, I heard you're expecting."
Say what and what are you expecting?

Needless to say at home after the party my sister and I were informed that a baby would be joining our family.  This baby was expected to arrive August 26, 1985.
Hmmm, so how was this going to work?

On September 7th, my sister and I were in a waiting area in the hospital.
Then suddenly the doors flew open and a man in a medical suit says,
"It's a boy!"
Hooray, Kimberly and I had a baby brother to torture love!
His name would be James Nicholas.

I was 10 and Kimberly was 7.
We loved on him and helped take care of this new baby.
We became instant babysitters.
We dressed him up in girl's clothes and put make up on him.
You knew that was coming!
We got him to do and say some pretty funny stuff.
I know it's on tape somewhere.

Fast forward,
I was 18, which means James was 8.
Our Grandpa Wheeler passes away on a Sunday morning.
This was the first death of a family member for us.
He was 8.

I was 23, he was 13.
Our Grandpa Diamond passes away.  It was a tragic death.
This was our second death of a family member.
He was 13.

When I was 24 I got married to Jason, James was 14.
I was out of the house now.  A new adventure and phase in life.
Career started.
We didn't see each other often.  I was out of touch.
I didn't even know he could sing.
I'm 36 and still have never heard my brother sing!
But I did hear stories of his shenanigans from mom.
He was 14.

In high school, James lost several friends in very tragic deaths.
Experiences that forever leave in an imprint on our lives.
I often thought about how much loss he had experienced at such a young age.
After high school he loses more friends.
I remember mom telling me that James had said he was tired of singing at his friends' funerals.
Such a thing to say for a young person.
Nothing I have ever experienced in my life.

By 18, the age I was when I experienced a death close to me, he had experienced a lifetime of loss for many.

Fast forward (again) through those early twenties (more shenanigans),
He's now going to school full time preparing to go to vet school.
He's taking classes that I would die if I had to take them.
Organic Chemistry, Biology, and on.

Because of our age difference we didn't have a very close relationship.
Something I wish I could go back in time to fix.

Another tragedy...
On February 18, 2010, our family learns that my daughter, Madelynn, has passed away. 
She is delivered that night.
James is there.
He stays with us, he sees her.
He has classes on Friday.
He comes to the hospital after.
He has tests to study for, he brings his backpack to be with us in the hospital.
He's there.
That left such an impression on me.  It meant so much!

Things are on the mend (they weren't really broken), we have become closer.
We are no longer 10 years apart.
We are adult siblings.
He texts that he loves me.
He puts notes on my windshield at work.
He shares the joys in his life with me.

I'm so proud of him and the things he is doing in his life.
He hasn't let the tragedies of life alter his course.
He is determined.

I am thankful to have James as my little (6'4") brother.
I am thankful he is an uncle to my children and my niece.
I am thankful for the man he has become and the goals he has set for himself.
I am thankful for the lessons life has taught him that I know he will use to help others.

We are blessed and better for having James as a part of our lives!!

Finding the blessings,


  1. Loved this post Denise. Your brother must be so honored to have such wonderful comments made by his sister. Treasure those moments with him they come and go so very fast! The best part of my childhood were memories with my brothers! I no longer have either of them, but I do still have the wonderful memories! Hugs my friend Renee'

  2. I'm so blessed to have you all as cousins and I can't wait to see you guys soon!!! Love you all~

    ps - tear jerker.. but at this moment I hear in my head in James's early teen voice "I think I'm gonna hurl" post pink salad. :)
    Love you,

  3. Your awesome, I enjoy reading your thoughts :) I remember the exact moment we accidently learned of mom being pregnant :) I do believe I cried lol. Oh the memories, so thankful for all of them! Love you. ~ Kim