Every one of the Wise kids has made history in one way or another and last weekend was a huge historical milestone achieved by Daniel. He became the first one of us to graduate from highschool. Well, an actual highschool, anyway.
We cheered loud and proud during the ceremony and the next day we all headed out to WATER! and enjoyed the day picnicing and swimming in the 108-degree heat. It was my idea to have a "trash the gown" photo shoot and some of my favorites are below:
the eagles was his school's mascot; this is his best rendition of the eagle
I am incredibly proud of this 'kid' who has grown and matured into a great guy/man. I always wanted an older brother growing up and I distinctly remember one day while we were at a gas station getting a drink and all of us kids were in the back of our pickup truck, I looked at Daniel, who was about 7 at the time, and said to myself how I couldn't wait until he was grown up.
We were always close.
The seven years between us meant I was baby-crazy at the same time he wanted someone to rock him all the time so we made a good pair. I had a string of songs that I would start singing to him to rock him to sleep or make him happy.
As he quickly changed from an infant who wanted to be rocked to a toddler always on the move, our energy levels were a perfect match.
It seemed we were always together and instead of rocking him to sleep, I was propping him on the handlebars of my bike and tearing through the campground. When he could ride his own bike, our bikes became horses and we were the jockeys - always racing, always trying to win.
We spent hours outside playing and when we couldn't play outside anymore, we turned to books, which opened up a whole new world of discovery. We spent almost every night in the imaginary spaces of the pages.
Daniel gave me one of the biggest compliments I've ever received the day he graduated:
"You had a big part to play in why I'm here; you read to me."
We tackled kids books, young adult books and adult books with hundreds of pages.
The day I imagined him grown up was a day I projected in my mind, when instead of racing bikes and building dirt castles, we were tackling bigger things, changing the world.
I guess I wanted our childhood partnership to transfer into adult life.
I don't rock him to sleep anymore or sing silly songs or ride him around on my bike.
Now we manufacture business plans and we try to find the best way to make our family's cared for and we revel in our religious discussions and asking tough questions.
He wants to write a book with me; it'd come full circle, wouldn't it?
He is a man I admire, I respect, I'd marry if he were about seven years older and not my brother.
He's my friend, my confidante, a source of humor and joy in our family, someone who enriches all of our lives.
He's a quiet leader, a loud defender, he'll try just about anything once and give it his all. He coaches and teaches and criticizes and makes fun.
He cooks and cleans and does laundry.
He fixes things.
He buried my dog.
He watches sports with us and explains things we don't understand.
I'm glad he's my brother, I'm glad he's my friend, I'm glad he's growing up and I can't wait to see the next step of his journey.