Ben turned 27 on April 27th. To celebrate his birth, his Olivia brought Gypsy Stew and I brought the Christmas Crackers. They were gold because it was a golden birthday.
Ben is my brother and the baby of the six of us siblings. He is tall with lots of curly hair. He married Olivia who is the oldest of her mother's big brood and they had Cohen Juarez Knudsen:
Who is about to become an older brother to their second boy, a daunting task. The oldest bears the brunt of a mother and father's fumbles. But, I'm convinced he comes equipped with steady shoulders and a head to match. Cohen has not proved me wrong (as far as I can tell).
Not so with the youngest. She brings the party. And also pensiveness. Ben is the youngest. He was always accidentally injuring himself. He slipped on the bathroom floor as a tobbler (as they're called at our house) and split his chin open. But besides the bruises, Ben is brilliant company.
I'm the second child, like Lucy (and Baby Boy Juarez, still in mama's belly). We like to live somewhere that nobody else can see, some people refer to this as "daydreaming" or "head-in-the-clouds". But we know exactly what is going on around us always and we know what we want.
Olivia is a born mother. Those kind exist. Their children are lucky and Oivia is beautiful.
There's only six of us, but it's an instant party. Loud and longlasting. This one, on this day, lasted clear into the late late hours.
Ben, when you have your third boy (or girl), get ready. If I am to judge by the one that tripled our tobbler trio, the third hits the ground running. Just look at her! Hazel is the most helpful and also requires the most attention.
When Ben comes over to the house, I get completely confused and start calling my little brother Seth and my oldest son, Ben. Both get a kick out of it. In fact I switched both their names in the same sentence this night and it sent Seth (my son) sailing off his chair into a fit of laughter under the table. As he does, Ben just smiled.
To me, Ben will always be the little boy. The one who fell out of the apricot tree slicing his leg open wide. The one who is always genuinely as pleasant as he appears in this picture. The one who is bashful in new company. The one who looks really really great with a crowd of kids at his chair.
I love you Ben. And will always treasure the time we shared a state and many many suppers.
Happy Birthday, baby brother.