Thursday, April 3, 2014

I'm Just Going to Say It

Matthew inadvertently keeps making me cry.  Tuesday night Matthew asked me on the way to his 1st soccer practice: "(Was) Brandon good (at) soccer?" I answered, "Yes. He was very good at soccer."  He asked earlier if Brandon ever scored goals.  I told him about the time Brandon scored 6 goals in one game.   I choked back the tears because I miss my blond boy so much, but how sweet of a Matthew to ask about Brandon.  Now Matthew just said today that he wishes that Brandon hadn't died because he knows they would have been great friends. It's funny because I have thought that myself MANY times over the last 2 months.  I’m just going to say it: Matthew reminds me SO much of Brandon.  They don’t look alike, but sometimes they sure do act alike.  I wasn’t going to compare the boys, because no one likes to be compared, but truly there are many good things about the boys that are a lot alike.  I hope no one gets offended by this comparison or jumps to any conclusion that I don't love my other children as much as Matthew or Brandon.  You'd be surprised by the hate mail I get.  At any rate, here is my list of similarities.
1.       They both have been protective over their sisters.  Brandon would never allow Haley to ride her bike far without chasing her down to get her because she went “too far” down the street and away from the safety of home.  A little while ago Kylie said she was going to a friend’s house.  Matthew was quick to find out which friend’s house she was going to and as she left the house he said in English, “Be careful.”  That is SO something Brandon would have done.

2.      They both have scratched their heads a certain way when they were thinking.  If they were trying to think of an English word or how to describe something in limited vocabulary they would scratch their head a specific way.
3.      Both boys have been mama’s boys.  They both have said over and over that I am beautiful and make sure to compliment me when I’m wearing something they think looks nice.  They won’t let me lift anything without dropping whatever they’re doing to lift it for me.  They’ve both wanted to know where I was if they weren’t at my side following me around like a shadow.  They’ve both been protective of me.  While in Ukraine, Brandon would throw his arm out in front of me if he thought I was going to walk out into the street while a moving vehicle was coming.  The other day I was vacuuming out the pool, apparently I was leaning too far over the pool for Matthew’s liking and he reached over and put his hand on my back and said, “Be careful, Mama.”  He didn’t want me to fall in to the cold pool.
4.      Both boys have liked to cook.  Both boys have found joy in helping in the kitchen cutting up vegetables, stirring, taking things in and out of the oven.  They both have enjoyed smelling what was cooking and said, “Mmmm….smells good.” 
5.      Both have been teases and enjoy practical jokes.
6.      Both can break dance.
7.      Both can run incredibly fast. Both all all-boy kind of boys.  Always active and in motion.
8.      Both love soccer.
9.      Both are over-the-top neat and take very good care of everything they own.  They both are annoyed if the other siblings are not neat or not taking care of something.
10.  Both like to wear cologne, to look nice with what they wear and like to smell good at all times.  Both boys chose the red AXE body spray scent out of all the scents available.
11.  Both hug the stuffings right out of me.  Brandon would squeeze me so hard, I was sure he would break my ribs.  Matthew does that too.
12.  Both skip off a certain way excitedly when they ask for something (such as an apple) and I say yes.
13.  Both love the smell of clean clothing and take a deep breath as they carry clothes that are freshly washed.  They both thank me for washing their clothing.
14.  Both are thirsty always and drink as much as a camel.  Brandon’s choice drink was iced tea.  He would drink 6 glasses in one sitting at a restaurant.  Matthew likes either lemonade or water and can drink just as much.  Throughout the day both boys required a lot more water than the average child.
15.  Both are fascinated with cars and want to know what all the buttons do inside a car.
16.  Both especially love monster trucks and motorcycles, though every automobile is fascinating to them including airplanes and helicopters.
17.  Both LOVE apples and bananas.
18.  Both hate to sit and do school work, but genuinely are hands-on-smart and hands-on workers.  They could fix or build anything. 
19.  Both pay attention to detail and then can remember that detail later on.  A month ago we bought a new sack of apples and I had Matthew take out the 4 remaining apples from the previous week and put the new apples on the bottom of the apple bowl and then put the 4 old apples on top.  Last week I bought a new sack of apples and there were 3 apples left.  Matthew took out those 3 older apples and made sure to put them on top.
20.  Both have wake up happy every day and are for the most part in happy moods all the time.  The only exception is when someone is raising their voice.  Neither boy has liked even when others are scolded. 
21.  They both have helpful and thankful spirits.  There is nothing that melts my heart like a thankful child. 
This list really could go on and on.  It’s quite eerie at times at how similar they are and they’re not even related biologically and never even met each other while in Ukraine.  I know the other 3 children probably have similarities to each other and Brandon, but for the most part they are all more different from one another than they are similar.  That is why it’s so unique that Matthew and Brandon are alike so much.  I love it (because it’s special) and I hate it (because it’s a reminder Brandon’s gone), but I’m just going to say it: Matthew reminds me some much of Brandon and I believe it's God's gift to us and Him pouring his love down on us every time Matthew makes us smile, as Brandon did. 


  1. Carinda,
    I've enjoyed reading your family's journey so much. I grew up with Tim and Bill in Jordan and remember our adventures with much fondness, especially at the ages close to Brandon and Matthew. I remember looking forward to the day we would spend with them so far in advance, as they lived in Amman and we lived in Mafraq, about an hour apart. Our families only got together maybe every other month. And we treasured it!
    The boys always provided us with a sense of happiness, adventure, camaraderie and so much enjoyment in the little things in life that we didn't experience without them. We built forts, played baseball and soccer, rode bikes, teased each other, ate fresh food, built Legos, swam, watched movies, learned how to ride skateboardes and got many scrapes and bumps during our time together. Reading your blogs takes me back to a childhood that I loved so much. It seems that both Brandon and Matthew are so much like their Dad in their love of the outdoors and the people in their life. Thank you for sharing your life together so openly and honestly. Reading what you write is overwhelmingly lovely and beautiful. Your family is close to my heart.

    1. Thank you, Shannon for sharing! Tim always speaks fondly of your family and the times you spent together as well as how much he loved his childhood overseas! I appreciate this sweet comment! ;)

  2. Must be so bittersweet

  3. Great article! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Thank you for sharing. It almost makes me cry, so I can only imagine how you must feel.

  5. Definitely bittersweet, Brandon had quite the handsome smile, I'll never forget it! Thankful you get to enjoy another special boy while you wait to be reunited!

  6. This was so cool to read! I wonder why that is? Very very interesting. Keep writing!!!!

  7. Submitting a break dance video request, please!!

  8. How sweet, really a gift from God. Our Isaac looks & acts so much like John's brother that passed away at age 19-it's a very special thing & always makes us smile

  9. I compare my children's similarities and differences all the time. It's because you're their mom and you do love them....ALL of them. Which is obvious in all your blogs and posts. Thanks for sharing!:)

  10. I can't understand why anyone would send hate mail! Just because you praise one child doesn't mean you have any less love for the others. I love reading your posts. God sent you each one of these precious children and I now you are blessed as much as they are!