Patrick.

My deeply cherished, precious buddy.

Thinking of Patrick and the man he’s becoming never ceases to bring tears to my eyes. For two years in a row at youth group during a “love fest” where the kids encourage one another for a night I tried, yes tried to tell everyone in front of Patrick how great he is. I failed. I started bawling and it was embarrassing. He is such a treasure to me. Words cannot describe the thankfulness I have for God giving me him as my younger brother and dear friend. We share priceless memories and have built an endearing friendship. When I look back on the days of homeschooling, Patrick (i.e. Pappy) was the highlight of the experience. Although I was immersed in a house with four other siblings, Patrick was my other pea in the pod. For the most part we had the same school work. Aside from school we were trouble makers. During our Jr. High years we broke a couch, knew how to delay math time (mom getting a phone call, Patrick taking LONG bathroom breaks) and most likely caused mom a few wrinkles. Our energy level was always high due to feeding off each other’s phrases (i.e. “Dumbo,” “ha-haaaa!” and “your mom”) along with inventing games around the house. Every morning at 8am mom would read out loud for roughly an hour. For Patrick and I, it was always a race to see who got the love seat, the best blanket, who held the family cat Lucy and who had convinced mom to make them breakfast. Patrick won 9 out of 10 times. As I would scurry down the stairs, pass mom curling her hair and swing the corner into the living room I was welcomed by Patrick, snug as a bug in dad’s green blanket, Lucy curled up in one arm, coffee and a bagel in the other, wearing a giant smile that expressed the words “once again, I won.” As mom would begin her morning routine with reading us a novel, Patrick always showed the most interest in the story. He became friends with the characters, talking about them with mom and predicting what might happen to Billy Coleman, a young boy from the touching tale of Where the Red Fern Grows-one of Patrick’s favorites. He adores the Lentz women. He has the most sensitive and tender heart for my mom, Amy, Anna and myself. He loves being around us. For a mother and sister to know this, it’s precious. During a recent trip back home Patrick delayed plans with friends to spend time with my mom alone in the car to come pick up Anna and I at the air-port. The next morning I awoke to a fresh donut Patrick had ran and picked up before I got up. A few days later he held off any arrangements with friends so he and I could go to the movies; which to my surprise he bought both our tickets. At the ticket booth I asked, “why are you paying for me?!” He smiled, put his hand on my shoulder and said, “you’re my sister, Mary!”

One of the things I love about Pappy is how much he is sensitive towards my quirks and how he finds them endearing. In youth group when my competitiveness came out in games I looked over and saw Pappy laughing and saying “oh Mary” with a smile. At home when I march around saying “FOR THE LOVE PEOPLE” following with a complaint I could turn a corner and find Pappy again, just smiling. I know I’m being dramatic and over-the-top but it’s so sweet how he is never fazed by any of it.

I’m not the only person who thinks highly of Pappy. He’s liked by everyone. His laid-back, humble attitude attracts class-mates, team-mates, parents and friends. At any event if someone finds out Pappy is there a smile goes across their face and his face is wanted to be seen. When he walks in a room a peaceful presence flows throughout the area. While he is laid-back and kind though, he is extremely opinionated and decisive. Out to eat or at the movies he is up for anything, however, if someone doesn’t choose what to eat or which movie to see Pappy is quick with decisions and can make something happen as fast as it takes to notice his height…which is 6’7”.

Since I’m going high-speed at this boastful rant of strong qualities he holds let me continue. A quiet, determined mind. From needing an A, winning a game or making money Pappy makes it happen. Sometimes it’s hard to see his dedication because when things get stressful he pushes it back in his mind and resorts to video games or TV for distractions. In the end though he knows what needs to be done to carry out and execute his goal(s). During his senior year of high school I learned he used his free period to complete all his homework so once he was home he could play Xbox. Normally seniors in high school use their free period to hang with friends, listen to an iPod and sleep. I sure did. Financially, he is smart with choosing how much to save, what to splurge on and when to spend it. Summers are filled with caddying at Ivanhoe and during “off-season” he plays poker for profit.

Of all us kids Patrick can be characterized by fighting the least with siblings, a master at getting out of chores, being a mediator and receptive towards others. I sincerely mean it when I say he holds the most fragile, sensitive spot in my heart-the memories we share all those years homeschooling, being in the youth group and high school together are ones I hold dear and think of fondly. As I’m in Kansas he attends Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee and I’m jealous of those who see his friendly face on campus.

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