Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dearest Baby Brother...

Twenty-two years ago today life as I knew it changed forever. For the first five years of my little life, I was it. I was the only child, the center of attention, the belle of the ball, the apple of everyone's eye... and then my Baby Brother entered the world... and never, not one single time, not even for an instant, have I ever wanted to go back to the time before Zac.

Zac was a Cowboy Texas Ranger... He always wore a badge, always carried a pop gun and never went anywhere without that raggady cowboy hat or his scuffed up boots.

Zac was a thumb sucker... We put everything imaginable on that little thumb trying to make him stop, but he was not deterred. Finally, one day my mom told him that she had read a study that kids that sucked their thumbs were more prone to become smokers. He never sucked his thumb again.

Zac has always been patient... Poor little guy spent his first five years of life riding in his carseat. At the time, I was going to gymnastics five days a week and it was a forty-five minute commute one way. Never one single time do I remember hearing him complain about always being strapped in or having to sit through hours of practices.

Zac went everywhere I went... If I had a bunch of girls over for a slumber party, we all knew that he would be right in the middle of everything. He was never that annoying little brother, he was just always happy to be included. I always wanted him to be with me too, so it worked out well.

Zac has always been a home-body. I have never been a home-body. I swear he would have never gone on a vacation except that he knew I really wanted to go and he wanted me to be happy. Sometimes, it worked the other way... like that snow skiing trip, half way through he decided he was ready to go home, so we packed up and headed out.

Zac has always been a natural athlete and I have always been his biggest fan. I was already gone to college by the time he got to high school, but we'd talk after almost every game and I would come home as often as I could. Even now, he'll call on the bus trip back from wherever his team has been and he'll be talking a hundred words a second and I love, love, love that he calls me to talk basketball.

Zac can make me feel special in a crowd. Whether he was on the gym floor or warming up in the high jump pit, the second he heard me cheer for him his head would snap up and he'd find me and then flash me a big smile... Sometimes locating me was pretty easy, I tend to be rather vocal at his basketball games.

Zac's nervous habit is to rub something silky between his thumb, index and  middle finger. It was a habit he started when he was little because his crib bedding had a little silk ribbon in it and he'd play with it until he fell asleep. When he got older, he'd ask to borrow my hair ribbon and rub it between his fingers in the car on the way to his games at the Boy's Club. Now, whenever the game is about to tip off or the score gets close, he'll start rubbing the silky material of his gym shorts... Knowing he's nervous, makes me nervous.

Zac and I trash talk a lot, but never to each other. Most people think the competition is who can stay on the tube the longest, so they try to knock each other off... Not us. We think the competition is who will wear out first - us or dad driving the boat. I can't tell you how many times Zac has pulled me back on the tube when I thought I couldn't hold on any longer. I always want him on my team.

Zac takes care of the people he cares about. The first picture was taken the morning of my wedding, he had been running around like a crazy man loading tables and moving things. The weeks leading up to my wedding, he dug ditches to lay the power lines, he helped hang lights in the trees and pretty much anything else I needed done. The second picture was taken after the ice storm, Zac was helping my grandparents feed and break the ice on the ponds for the horses. He always enjoys helping them. The final picture was taken before Callie's wedding. Zac kept moving the truck and hanging lanterns from the trees, he's a pretty good wedding slave.

Zac, as much as I love him, can be a bit redneck... although he would call it resourceful or efficient. This picture is one of my favorites. When he moved home after his first year of college he found an old couch on the side of the road so he loaded it up and duct taped it in. He drove 8 hours like this. Then he decided having a couch in the back of his truck came in very handy - when he and his friends were playing pick up basketball, the people who were sitting out each game had a comfortable place to sit - so he drove around all summer with that hideous thing hanging out of the bed of his truck.

Zac is loved by EVERYONE... He and Blythe have always had a secret handshake. The twins adore him and look up to him, even when he's de-pantsing them. Young or old, Zac captures all hearts.

Zac has never been embarrassed to tell me that he loved me. I worried about this when he went to college... What if all of the sudden he was too cool for his sister? I called him a few weeks ago and he was lifting weights with the team... I told him he could just call me back, but he stopped what he was doing and talked. When we started to hang up, he didn't hesitate, "I love you sister." Best. Feeling. Ever.

Zac's visits at college are some of my favorite memories. My roommate and I snuck him in the girls dorms where he stayed up late talking with us and then slept on the tile floor. He took lots and lots of pictures with me and my friends while I lived at Pi Phi... so many that he could do the "sorority pose" perfectly. Any time he came to visit we would order Pizza Shuttle regardless of the hour. My freshman year, I took him to his first OU football game and we stayed up the night before making signs for College Game Day. It was always good for him to come visit.

Zac and I both still get a little homesick... not for our house, but for each other. It's like we just need a little time together to reenergize ourselves. I was really missing him a few weeks ago so he came and stayed with us. We didn't do anything special, but it was so nice just to know he was on the other end of the couch.

Zac cracks me up constantly. He is so random and witty... Tweets this week: (1) The Thunder just made me happier than that time I made that 36 on my ACT... (2) Jeremy Lin might be the most famous person in the world right not but... if he was in the mall... wouldn't have a clue. THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME. (3) Nothin gets my competitive juices flowin quite like fightin for a good parking spot at Walmart. 

 Zac has always been fiercely loyal. He has defended me, protected me, stood up for me and always taken very good care of me. I'm not sure when our roles began to reverse but somewhere along the line it did. At some point, he stopped acting like a baby brother... Sometimes, I still struggle with that - I forget that he can order for himself at a restaurant now, but he never gets annoyed with my big sistering. I am so appreciative of that.

 Zac makes sure that the things that are important to me, are also important to him. He'll never know how much I appreciated him skipping that trip to Colorado so he could be there the day Brandon proposed. Having him home to share the joy with made it absolutely perfect.

Zac loves Monster. That's all I have to say about that.

Zac loves being outside. Whether we're fishing or rock climbing or swimming in the creek or shooting guns at the Ranch, he is definitely happiest being out somewhere that requires driving on a dirt road. I love this about him... He is the epitome of gool ol' boy.

Zac's opinion was the one I cared most about when it came to boys and, man, did he have opinions! Once he told me to dump a guy because his jump shot was so bad... and he was completely serious. But every time at the end of the day, his advice and wisdom were right on. My brother is a wonderful judge of character, probably because he has so much of it. Sometimes, when I considered lowering my standards, he was picky for me. Thank you bubba. I wanted to make sure I found a man who would be the brother you never had, who appreciated your hilarious sense of humor, who understood your passion for sports, who would watch stupid television shows like Finding BigFoot with you and who you could call, who you would want to call when you needed advice or wisdom or a friend... I'm so glad I found him for you brother. Thank you for insisting that I deserved only the very best... I didn't stop until I found a man I loved as much as I love you. Thank you for setting the bar so high brother.

Zac gave me the most precious gift at our wedding... a toast. Oh the amount of money I would give to have that on video! He started out cracking jokes - explaining that he had spent his entire life trying to defend his sister's honor... and then, he broke my heart - "So today is the day my best friend got a new best friend." Makes me cry every time. Brother, you will always be my very best friend... You always have been... 

The final picture is one of my most favorites... For as long as I can remember, Zac has slept in my room. He usually slept on the floor, but this particular night was the conclusion to a very hard day. I love this picture. It is the prime example of our relationship and how it's changed through the years while somehow remaining the same. Brother's frame looks so big and strong and I look so tiny next to him. He slept beside me because he was taking care of me - making sure I was okay. When did he become the "big" brother? When did he become the protector, the comforter, and the one I depended on? That had always been my role... I am the big sister. Yet somewhere, at sometime, I started looking up to him and he started taking care of me. He's only 22 and yet our relationship has already gone full circle. The thing is - no matter how big or how strong or how old he is, he will always be my baby brother.  That will never change. I am so thankful that twenty-two years ago today I was blessed with the most perfect brother in the whole wide world. 

Thank you Zac Rogers for being everything I ever wanted and needed, and yet still letting me pretend that I was the care giver, not the one being cared for. Thank you for always giving me the inside scoop on your life, for sharing everything with me - good and bad. Many years ago, mom and dad explained to me that I was supposed to be their spy... Thanks for never doing anything worthy of being told on. Thanks for making me laugh daily. Thanks for always loving me unconditionally, even when I acted more like your mom than your friend. Thanks for always answering my phone calls and for never being embarrassed by the words "I love you." Thank you for always listening to me and taking my advice even when it wasn't necessarily what you wanted to do. Thanks for being a wonderful role model of what a Christian man is supposed to look like and act like and really truly be... always, without fail. Thank you for hiding notes or cds in my suitcase whenever I had to go back to college, I still treasure those today. Thank you for always making me feel like the most important person in your life... You have been the perfect little brother. I love you so much more than pictures or words in a silly blog could ever do justice. Thank you bubba for a wonderful 22 years of friendship. You are absolutely loved and adored.



  1. I am not sure who is luckier. You or Zac. This was beautiful, and I am so grateful you shared!

  2. I know who is most lucky--your parents! We are blessed with the most amazing children and we are thankful and pray for all three of you daily. Made your mama tear up....

  3. You're killing me here. As though I don't have enough emotions flowing one weeks form the bar, I read this and now I'm crying like a pansy. KILLING ME.

  4. love this blog entry Raegan. I too have a younger brother that I adore and this makes me love him even more. I want Hayden and Deacon to have this kind of relationship one day. There is nothing like a having your brother as a friend :)