He is nearly 12 years younger than I am. He is no longer my little brother. Measuring at just over 6 feet tall and wearing a 16 triple wide shoe, there is nothing small about him.
He just celebrated his 13th birthday and I can not help but look back at how much this "little" guy has been through and how far he has come.
When he was 17 months old he was air lifted to Boston for burns that covered nearly half his body. His baby skin burned off by a cup of tea. Seeing him in scrapped to the hospital bed, tubes coming from all over his body. It is still one of the worse things that I have ever seen!
You would never know that he was so badly burned. Only a few scars are left to remind him of that horrible ordeal.
Our father has never been involved much since we moved away when Zach was just 3. Our mom worked till her hands literally bled to give all 5 of us what we needed and a roof over our heads. Zach was often left with my sisters and I while she worked long hard hours. We did the best we could but nothing can replace a mother's love.
Zach became unruly, angry, argumentative, and disrespectful. He was hard to handle. There were always good times where you could see his inner beauty shining through but there were many hard days. Years of no father and a mom who worked around the clock to provide for her large family were hard on him.
Recently my mom has been able to stay home with my brother, youngest sister, and her step son. The change in my brother is amazing. He is a gentle giant, protective of his family, and adores his Mommy. To those who do not know all that Zach has been through, they would never know what he has endured in his short 13 years, never know how he had never known a father's love or that he was bullied and picked on in school. You would never know.
He is about the kindest guy I know. Sweet and loving with my kids. A great back rubber and hugger. Sure he is a typical 13 year old boy and still can be disrespectful but his heart is so soft and loving. He has a love for God and it is really starting to shine through. He wants nothing more than to be loved and respected. He inspires me. Reminds me of my Wesley. Gives me hope at the end of long hard days with Wes, that with a mother's love, hard work, and lots of prayer, even the hardest boys can become great men.
He is huge and because of his size it is easy to forget that he is so young. He looks like he is 16 or older and sounds like a man. That sometimes works against him and people expect him to act more like the age he appears to be. I think he handles this misunderstanding surprisingly well and is developing into great man. I am so proud of my brother. He is smart and kind and has such a loving heart.
Keep God first Zach and you can do just about anything. I love you!