Tears streamed down my face as I stood on my tiptoes and we hugged each other tightly at the Missionary Training Center. I probably dampened his new suit, but I don’t think he minded. “I love you,” I said.
I thought of the many times I had thought I disliked Tommy, even if he was my brother. Then I thought about how much things had changed over the years, how sad I was to see him go.
I remembered when we were younger and didn’t get along well. Sometimes he teased me so much I thought I’d be happy to someday see him go away. Because we were close in age, we were always together—at home and sometimes even at school. I remembered being on his “work team” while doing chores around the house, like folding clothes and washing dishes. When we were on clothes crew together, we would both fold as slowly as possible in order to fold the least amount of clothing and thus make the other do more work. Because we both worked so slowly, it would always take all day.
Dishes were even worse! Whenever I was the washer, he would sneak some of the dishes that I put in his drain rack and put them back on the counter to wash. I remember once washing one cup about six times before I figured it out.
I used to think Tommy caused all my problems, but now I realize he was just teasing, and it was probably my temper that caused many of our disagreements.
Sometimes I wondered why my parents never split us up or put us on different teams. But as we got older, I realized it was because those times together forced us to get to know each other and to learn to get along.
As time passed and we both matured, we started to talk to each other about school, teachers, friends, and all the other things that concerned us. Tommy and I actually became friends. In high school, Tommy was a senior when I was a sophomore, and it was nice to receive advice from an experienced student. We were both in the marching band, and even though we had our own friends, Tommy was always willing to talk to me or help me in any way. He had developed a real sense of humor, and I enjoyed spending time with him.
I remember nights when we would be the only ones up, doing our homework, and Tommy would serve us both some ice cream. We would talk late into the night. Tommy was a wonderful example to me, and I was always learning something from him. He chose good friends, and I never saw him hesitate to choose the right. I especially respected him for how well he treated my parents. Whenever we came home from school, Tommy would go into the kitchen to get something to eat, and we would sit down and chat with Mama about the day. Somehow, the conversation always drifted to things deeper than school. I will always cherish those times.
Tommy soon graduated and began preparing for his mission, but I never really realized how much I would miss him until the day he left. As Tommy hugged us and wiped his tears away, I suddenly felt a little lonely. But I knew it was the right step for Tommy to take, and I was proud of him.
Tommy is an example of kindness, service, and love. I really couldn’t ask for more in a best friend and a brother.