By Don Lindsey
Last week, I wrote about my aunt and the role she has played in my life. With the Christmas season upon us, I think I will keep my next couple of articles about some of my family members that have made a difference in my life.
This week, I am going to dedicate my time to my older brothers Mike and Ronnie.
As I mentioned in the column I wrote about my brother Jimmy, my siblings are quite a bit older than I am. Mike, the first person I’ll talk about this week drew a lot of the babysitting duties for me when I was a little one. When I reflect back on all of that time now, I am grateful for the time we spent going to see E.T. or doing something that involved baseball. He was very involved with my life. He became an assistant coach for my first ever little league team and I can remember him still attending some of my games even after he married, moved away and had other responsibilities to look after. Speaking of him being married, I have been blessed with having some great sister in laws and Mike’s wife Theresa is a good example of that. Juggling a nursing career with being a mother of four and a wife, had to be hard but she somehow made it all look very easy. Her charm and genuine love for her family are only a couple of the reasons that I admire her. Some people make your family better by being in it and she’s one of those folks.
I have a lot of fond memories of spending time during Christmas with Mike, Theresa, and their kids. Whether it was Mike putting together my toys when I was younger or me playing with my nieces and nephews when I was older, Christmas always presented a chance to get together and I miss that. Another thing that I miss is spending time with my oldest brother Ronnie and his family who would also make those holiday gatherings.
Ronnie always seemed to epitomize cool to me. 18 years older, he always seemed to be the elder statesman who always has a unique way of saying things to prove his point. As with my other brothers, I was able to spend a lot of time around him when I was younger and really appreciate the memories I have from the time spent. I am also grateful to my other sister in law Pat. I’ve known her since I was about 5 or so and put her up there with being one of the most caring people I’ve ever met. She is also an inspiration. Recently she has beaten lung cancer and while she still deals with breathing issues, she keeps an upbeat attitude. I have seen her lose a daughter and deal with her kids and grandkids living in different states making it hard to see them and yet she still seems to look for life’s positive moments and how to get the most out of them. I cherish the relationship I have with Pat and her children from her first marriage and am thankful that the Lord put these people in my life.
I’m also grateful for my nephew that Pat and Ronnie had together. Ronnie had a daughter from his first marriage and because she lived in the Seattle area, we didn’t get to see her often so when they had their son Jamie, I was very excited knowing that I would have a nephew close by. Being ten years older than Jamie, it was my turn to be the big brother and I took that job seriously. To this day I consider myself close to him and am proud of the father that he’s become to his six children.
Over the years, I have constantly looked up to my big brothers. While I don’t get to see them very often, I still miss them and find myself wishing that I could go back in time and relive a childhood Christmas when we were all together. I know that it isn’t possible to do that, but I do have the memories still and I can also call them to chat from time to time. It’s not the same as being with them on the holiday but as my brother, Ronnie would say “it beats a blank”.
Don Lindsey is a follower of Christ, son, husband, father, and a survivor. Originally from Dayton Ohio, and resident of Apopka for six years, Don sees his life as a dedication to his wife, parents, children, and community.