Tonight was a bittersweet night as I soaked in a pool of Mr. Bubbles with the Beatles' And I Love Her softly playing in the background. A candle flickered and cast eerie shadows on the wall as I felt warm tears running down my cheeks, creating a trickling waterfall into the bathwater below. Something about the mellow atmosphere of an unwinding bubble bath brought out the guilt in me; I missed my little brother's Senior Homecoming tonight.

It all sounds a bit dramatic, I know.
But sometimes dramatic is okay. There is nothing more imporant to Zach and me than showing support to the people we love the most, and naturally Ryan is one of them. We wish more than anything we could have been there tonight Ryan; it is my prayer that you know, at least a tiny bit, how much we love and miss you. You are such an incredible blessing to our family and have been since that beautiful May day in 1994. I still remember peering through the glass at you; you were such a little guy! You were nameless for the first few hours, which was difficult for a big brother and sister that desperately needed something to call their newest prodigy. As Dad and I stood there admiring you, hand in hand, I'll never forget what happened next.

Dad looked at me and said, "What do you think about Ryan? I like the name Ryan".
I smiled up at him and said, "I like it too".

Running down the hall to tell Mom you now had a name that I single-handedly picked (Yes, I took all the credit. Thanks for rolling with it, Dad.) was one of the proudest moments of my life. "His name is Ryan" I told her. She smiled and said, "It's perfect". And you were.

We are so proud of everything you are and everything you've become over the last 17 years. It shouldn't take missing a Homecoming game for me to tell you these things, but I want you to realize what a special place you hold in our hearts. You are my baby brother and I love you, today and always.

College Station, November 2010