My brother and I didn’t have a good relationship until we hit middle school when things began a steady upward trend. In high school there were some issues between him and the rest of my family; I won’t get into what they are as I’m not sure how much he’s comfortable with me talking about, but, suffice to say, his behavior back then wasn’t the greatest and neither were the reactions of my parents and unfortunately that’s impacted things to this day.

Due to circumstances beyond my control I’ve missed most of the “big things” in my brother’s life. I couldn’t be there when he graduated high school because he was doing it in Samoa at the time and I wasn’t able to fly to Georgia for when he finished basic training in the Army. I wasn’t able to be there when he returned from his two tours of duty to tell him how happy I was that he was safe and that he was home. His wedding was so quick the family didn’t even find out about it until the next day (he proposed to his girlfriend the same day they were married).

So I was going to be damned before I missed his graduation ceremony from junior college.

Thankfully, my boss and grand-boss were ok with me taking the time off (even helping take over a small work commitment I’d made in order to give me the time) and I went and sweated in the sun. The speeches were the usual, run-of-the-mill graduation triteness that’s pretty typical but my brother and I passed the time texting snark back and forth until it was time for him to walk. He crossed the stage five minutes before I had to leave to make sure I could pick Connor up on time and I was proud I could be there to see him finish this part of his life.

My brother transfers to a four-year university in the fall and I look forward to his next graduation in two years.

I’m proud of you, Daniel. Look at how far you’ve come.

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