No Thanks for the Advice
Hopelight Comforting Faith Counseling is a place where people can come to seek out advice on how to improve their relationships and their lives in general. That said, this week I’ve been celebrating the fact that my younger brother decided to consistently ignore advice, mine in particular.
Lon married my sister-in-law Andrea at 21 even both of them were still in college. It seemed like folly when they were so young and under such pressure to get through school. My pals and I all thought Lon was heading for failure. Twenty-two years later, they are as close as they were as undergrads.
Lon disregarded me again while he was studying for his doctorate. He and my sister-in-law were struggling, living in a rented home in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was years from starting his academic and research career, while Andrea was toiling at a vending machine company. Despite all of their disadvantages, the two decided it was the perfect time to make a major change.
Obviously, I disagreed.
They didn’t ask me, and I was unaware of a significant development that was coming to all of our lives.
For weeks, I was oblivious as my parents greeted me as “Uncle Dan.” Because I was so absorbed in my own schedule and responsibilities, I never processed the new title that had been bestowed on me. Finally, out of frustration, my mother had to tell me that Andrea was pregnant.
Instead of being overjoyed about having another Lybarger in the world, I thought that Lon was being foolish. His career hadn’t really started, and it would be tough for the two of them to take care of a baby.
Ironically, Lon and Andrea’s seeming irresponsibility ended up forcing me to act more maturely. Still new in my own career, my brother was forcing me to nail my deadlines at work so I would miss Jackson’s upcoming birth.
Projects that used to take me forever to finish now ended ahead of schedule. We had no idea exactly when Andrea was going to give birth, but my work deadlines were set in stone. When my boss saw that I had completed my work correctly and ahead of schedule, she quipped “Your sister-in-law needs to get pregnant more often.”
When Jackson was actually born, my parents and I happily rushed to Shreveport knowing that his first days wouldn’t hurt my work schedule. Jackson didn’t have to do much to amaze us. All he had to do was wake up occasionally. When he actually made eye contact, it seemed like a miracle. My parents taped the event, and I hope the recording never makes it to YouTube. I don’t think anyone whose last name isn’t Lybarger wants to watch a tape of a bunch of silly adults hovering over a sleeping infant.
Jackson turns 18 on the 30th, and he’s still delighting us. Now he sings and plays guitar instead of bursting into loud bits of midnight crying. When I think back about my previous skepticism, it’s obvious that seemingly ill-advised decisions are the right ones. So, Lon, the next time I tell you what to do, it will be a favor to us both if you don’t pay attention to me.