On this day eleven years ago, my baby brother Joseph was born.
I was twelve and a half years old, and it was the happiest day of my life.
For years and years, my four sisters and I had prayed for a baby brother. Every penny tossed into a wishing fountain, every wish made on a star, all were for that one purpose—"I wish for a little brother."
Family lore includes many stories of this deep desire we all shared. There was the time that Dad asked us, jokingly, "Which would you rather have for Christmas: a puppy dog or a baby brother?" We all solemnly answered, "A baby brother," except for Caroline, the very littlest. She piped up, "I'll take the dog!"
I think my parents found out that Joseph was going to be a boy, but they didn't tell us until he was born. In fact, Dad played a trick on us. When he came to pick us up from school to see Mum and the new baby, he held up a pink card that said, "It's a girl." He meant it as a joke, but he didn't expect our reaction: we ran back into class and declared, "We have a new little sister!" Dad quickly cleared up the confusion—"No, it's a boy!"—and we ran to class again with the second announcement. Some of our friends thought our mom had had twins again!
We were so happy that day. I remember we danced and sang in the hospital room around Mum's bed. The nurses must have thought we were crazy, but oh, how we rejoiced. For us those words from Scripture came alive—"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given." No Hallelujah Chorus was ever sung more happily.
Joseph was the first baby I ever fell in love with, the first little one I had the privilege of helping raise. Now he is a big eleven-year-old, his top interests in life Madden football and playing soccer. But to me and his other sisters, he will always be that sweet baby we loved so much.
Happy birthday, my little Joe. As I always tell you, you're the best brother in the world.