One of them is a loyal Buckeye like me, one of them I have never met, and one I haven't spoken to in over a decade. One of them got married on a beach, one of them is potentially half black, and two of them are in the seizure club with me. Eleven women have impacted my life over the last 24 years.
But today I want to tell you about the one that I admire the most.
For full effect, download "Keep Holding On" by Avril Lavigne and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.
When I was five years old my Mom walked me into a funeral home in Logan where I was introduced to the concept of grieving and black clothing and standing in line to look at a dead body. We did the rounds and paid our respects, and I touched the nose of a pretty, silver-haired lady who was taken from this Earth a bit too soon. I had no idea who she was. Hell, I was five. I had no idea who anybody was at that point in my life. To the left of the casket I saw a man with five little girls wiping tears from their eyes. This man was about to bury his wife. These girls were about to bury their Mother. And little did I know that in five months, I would be sharing a bathroom with all of them.
Fast forward eight years to the front seat of a maroon Cadillac doing its usual rounds of driving to Salt Lake City and back to support a fiasco-ridden pyramid scheme that would later be a multi-million dollar disaster. I sat in the front seat of that Cadillac and bonded with one of those girls I had met at the viewing. The ginger wearing glasses to be more specific. We connected over country music, Fritos, and Pepsi Blue. We talked about the meaning of life and the direction we were headed. She was a clear favorite of the five sisters that I inherited. And I think it's safe to say that I was her favorite brother.
Fast forward three more years to the fall of 2000 where an uncomfortably awkward junior in high school was knocking the teeth out of offensive linemen across the Wasatch front. I was playing a sport that I didn't love, a sport that I dreaded showing up to practice for, a sport that would later be a key factor in my brain-damaged legacy, but that's neither here nor there. I was on the field reveling in the pride factor of high school athletics, not because I wanted to be the best defensive lineman that Roy High School had ever seen, no, I was out there because I didn't want to let my sister down.
"I don't think I'm going to play football anymore Laura, it's just getting too hard." I said to her one summer afternoon while we were camping in Bear Lake a few months before the season.
"It's too hard?" She said. "Of course it's hard Brock, everything in life is hard. You can't just give up on something because it's not easy. You will never grow into a man if you just give up on something when it gets a little sticky. No, you will play high school football Brock, there is no way in Hell I will let you quit on this."
She didn't let me quit. And she was right. The endless hours of high school football helped carve me into becoming a man.
Fast forward to the winter of 2003 where I woke up feeling sorry for myself about having to talk on the phone the night before to a man who in my eyes had abandoned me. I felt that my life was hard, that my life was tough, that it was more difficult than anyone else's out there. I thought I had more trials, tribulations and kicks in the nuts to deal with than Job himself.
And then my sister called me that afternoon to tell me her nearly four-month old son Jackson had died that morning from SIDS.
Somewhere out there, Job was shaking his head.
Rather than throw up the white flag, hand in her letter of resignation, turn in her badge and gun, my sister and her husband decided to buckle down, take the licks that life had given them, take the higher road and move on. They decided rather than quit cold turkey on raising a family to take the opposite route and raise three beautiful children instead. Life is hard kids, it never eases up. There are moments when you think you have caught your breath, when you think you are back on your feet, but those are only swept out from underneath you when God decides to punch you in the ovaries and see how you can handle it. For my sister Laura, those devastating moments that would cripple anyone else are but bumps in the road. They are merely formalities.
When it comes to the dating world that us single people are wandering around, everyone has a certain criteria that they want their potential spouse to meet. They have a list of qualities and characteristics that they hope their significant other can live up to. Don't deny that because you all know it's true. We all have a certain type of someone that we want to come home to every night.
With that being said, when it comes to the type of girl that I want to one day take to the altar, I too have a list of qualities that I want her to have. I want someone who I can connect with on long road trips, discussing the meaning of life over grungy food. I want someone who motivates me to be a better person and incites a passion to not give up when things aren't as easy as I think. I want someone who can go through Hell and back and still have a genuine smile on her face. Honestly, I want someone who is like my sister Laura. A sister who I admire, who I respect, who I love more than Ohio State. I want someone like her.
Because she's one of the best women I have ever had the privilege of sharing this life with.