The Year Andrew Stegmaier Became an Adult
At a family reunion about 20 years ago, I said hi to one of my little cousins. He was about 5 years old at the time, and when I asked him what was new, he answered in a full, coherent sentence. The last time I had seen him a year prior to that, he talked like a little kid, barely piecing together words and phrases.
In my surprise, I said, “Wow, you can talk now!”
He looked up at me and said, “Yes I can.”
The kid had been learning to speak over the past year or so, but because I rarely saw him, his development jumped forward and surprised me.
I feel like that happened with my brother this year. Andrew turns 27 today (October 5). Although he’s been an adult for quite some time, I’ve still viewed him as a little brother. Of course, he’s still my little brother, but this year I think he’s taken a huge step forward. He’s not just a little brother. He’s a peer, a man, a friend.
Here’s what I’ve seen this year:
- Andrew got a job at Microsoft back in January. But he didn’t get it the normal way–he didn’t apply for the job through the Microsoft website on a whim. Rather, he did something while visiting Microsoft for another company that impressed them so much that Microsoft called him and said they wanted to give him a job. So Andrew accepted the job and moved all the way out to Seattle.
- This summer we had a big family reunion at the beach. The older generation cooks most of the food, but my generation chips in more and more every year. Andrew and I did a lot of cooking on one of those days, and not only did he buy fish for the entire family for dinner (about 25-30 people), but he prepared this delicious cheese/tomato/basil appetizer and created an amazing strawberry dessert with some kind of whipped cheese…it was incredible. I’ve always known that Andrew had class based on his drinks of choice, but this was a whole other level.
- A few months ago, I mentioned to Andrew that I was gathering items for the silent auction of a fundraising event I coordinated. Without hesitation, Andrew said, “Hey, why don’t I donate a new Xbox? And a Kinect?” It was incredibly touching that he’d contribute in such a large way to an event that I spend a significant amount of time on. I think philanthropy often comes with the dawn of adulthood, and I definitely see that side of Andrew now.
- Finally, the kicker was just the other day when I got this e-mail from Andrew about my board game on Kickstarter (he’s a backer–are you?): “I keep telling everyone I know about how excited and proud I am to have a brother who’s doing something so cool.” I’ll be honest, that got to me. It chokes me up even now reading it.
He can talk now!
All this adds up to me being immensely proud of the man my brother has become. Andrew, happy birthday. I hope today is an incredible day for you, full of top-shelf liquor, big dogs, and at least one heated debate. I hope the next year of your life is the best one yet.