"MY LITTLE BROTHER"
I think I remember mommy telling us kids that she was pregnant (with Robbie) as we were standing near the oil furnace one day. We were very surprised because we thought since Jimmy was born, mommy and daddy were finally satisfied to have been blessed with a son. It seemed to me, though, that mommy was happy as could be to be having another child!
After mommy delivered Robbie, and she was still in the hospital, I remember being at home with daddy. I don't remember who else was at home that particular night, but probably Jeanie and Jimmy, at least. Daddy seemed pretty worried that we hadn't had anything to eat and we were a little worried that Daddy wouldn't have a clue how to fix dinner for us. Daddy decided to make some corn bread.
Well, he did just fine and I don't remember if I'd ever had corn bread before that night because it seemed so special to me. We ate it straight from the oven and it was so yummy and comforting! To this day, I can't make cornbread without thinking of Daddy's cornbread when Robbie was born!
It wasn't long after Robbie was born, we knew he had some special challenges to face in his life. I have memories of mommy and daddy being terribly concerned about his well being. Being a child myself, when he was born, I pretty much let mommy and daddy do the worrying and I just loved my little brother. Sometimes I went with mommy to the doctors, to group lessons, or helped so she could do his therapy with him. I recall helping care for Jeff and Trisha sometimes when mommy had her hands just too full. I don't remember feeling burdened by that, though. I loved Jeff and Trisha so much.
One day, I remember that Robbie was having some serious symptoms that made mommy call the doctor and then she rushed to the drug store for a medication for him. She left Robbie at home with me while she went so she could make better time. I was absolutely petrified after she left because he was having a seizure while he was in my care. I didn't try to move him but just sat quietly near assuring him of my love and praying that God would protect him. Robbie never had any violent-type seizures. He would just kind of stop moving and stare numbly. We all know the consequences of having a brain seizure means loss of brain cells that can never be recovered. It seemed to me like an endless struggle of the doctors trying to balance his medications so he would no longer experience seizures.
I remember daddy agonizing in prayer at the kitchen table, sometimes in tears for Robbie. His love for Robbie was so obvious to all of us.
We all loved Robbie, but mommy especially. I know God handpicked my mother for Robbie because she is so special. God has shown himself strong in her life because of her care for him.
I am extremely proud of her!
Robbie was later than normal in learning things because of his cerebral palsy and walking was no exception. I remember that he actually ran before he could walk. It helped him to keep moving fast in order to keep his balance. One of his favorite things to do was to say "Ready, Set, Go", then he'd take off for the other side of the room! He also liked us to say "Ready, Set, Go" for him, so he could pretend he was in a race. He found such joy in simple things like this. It always made us happy to see him enjoying life.
As a child, Robbie endured many surgeries, endless therapy, pain, ridicule, people taking advantage of him, friendless times, and probably so much more that he hasn't put into words for us to know. But what I remember is a brother who really just wanted to be loved for who he was and didn't expect much more than that.
He is still like that. He totally amazes me!
When Jim and I were making plans for our wedding, I decided I wanted my little brother Robbie to be our ring bearer. He was the obvious choice to me. He was adorable, for one. He had a heart of pure gold and I loved him. He was so excited to play such a big part in our wedding ceremony. It was one of the most special parts of the ceremony for me. I couldn't have loved my brother more than when he proudly walked down the aisle in his leg brace, carefully avoiding tripping on the runner, to present our wedding rings.
Robbie was involved with the Special Olympics as a boy. I only remember going to one of his events. He was in a running race. I don't even remember if he won or not. I guess because it didn't matter to me if he won or not. To me, he was always a winner in my mind. I didn't need some judge to tell me he'd won first prize. I remember admiring his persistence at things. One of his favorite past-times was building things with Legos. It was amazing the many and varied things he would painstakingly construct with the use of only his left hand.
Robbie attended Woodside School and eventually graduated from High School there. It was a very special day to watch him receive his diploma. We were all so proud of his accomplishments in school.
In his adult life, Robbie has lived at home with mommy and daddy. He has worked some outside the home, but for the most part has not held full time positions.
After daddy passed away, Robbie has been a big encouragement to mom. He helps her carry things, opens doors for her, acts as her protector, listens to her, prays with her and I am grateful for the ways he shows he cares for her. In addition to helping mom, he is helping out at the church he and mom attend (which happens to be right next door to their apartment complex). He has custodial duties there. Recently, he received a special honor. The Staff of the church has a luncheon once a month, and they have invited Robbie to attend that luncheon with the rest of the staff. They said he could bring one other person with him, if he'd like. So, he proudly asked mom to go with him. Robbie likes to tease everyone at work and they seem to really like teasing him right back. Could this be a little bit of daddy in him?
Not too long ago, mommy told me that Robbie didn't remember ever actually making a personal decision to give his heart and life to the Lord Jesus. It was a precious time for mommy to be able to pray with him and help him take that step of total faith and dependence on His Lord. For many years, I think we all thought Robbie already knew Christ as His Saviour. But, what's important is that he now has the assurance that Jesus has redeemed him for his own because he made that decision to confess his need for Christ and accept his direction for his life. Some day Robbie will be in heaven with Jesus, not because of his good works, but because he made the only decision that will open the doors of heaven. And when he gets there, there won't be any more palsy - just love. I have a feeling he will have many crowns to lay at Jesus' feet. We will rejoice together in our Saviour for eternity. . .
My Little Brother and me!
Robbie Page 5