Oh, Brother.

With the author himself.

I don’t know where to start. The past week has been filled with relentless waves of emotion that swell at the most inconvenient moments-and subside without warning. I find myself all at once elated and relieved, in disbelief and overwhelmingly sad. This morning is the first chance I’ve had since landing in Raleigh to just sit. To be still, and begin the process of understanding what exactly the past two years have been. To begin to understand that I am done-that one seven and a half hour plane ride later, I no longer sleep on the floor, spend my days speaking French and haggling for everything from taxis to fruit, fielding unwelcome marriage proposals and talking about Jesus with Muslim women that know nothing about Him.


What an odd thing. What a very, very odd thing.

I’m going to tell you about leaving later. First, I need to think. I need to feel. I need to finish my laundry. [And cuddle with the washing machine. Glorious, glorious contraption that it is.] Today, however,  I’m going to start telling you about coming home.


My little brother Stephen, aside from being one of the sweetest boys ever to walk the face of the planet, is also a poetic genius. If he weren’t so busy being a child-prodigy and taking the computer engineering world by storm [hey buddy, when you read this, I can’t figure out how to log a new contact into my smarty-pants phone…], he would most assuredly be the next Dr. Seuss. I arrived home from the airport, bleary-eyed and unbelievably caffeinated [oh hey, venti skim iced caramel latte. Where have you been all my life?] to find this:


My baby brother had put together a gift basket full of wonderful American things, with a poem scotch-taped to each one. It’s simply too good not to share.

[A box of cinnamon Life cereal]:

From Senegal and two years full of strife

Where men with many goats would call you wife

That chapter over, finished now

It’s time, a new one starts, and how!

We’re glad you’re back to be part of our life


[Bath and Body Works Cucumber Melon hand soap. My sweet brother spent forever smelling all of the soaps trying to find one that he thought I might like. He’s single, ladies…but you’ve got to get past me, first.]:

In your blog, we read as you would mope

About your showers freezing, with no hope

A polar bath is not required

Tub is scrubbed, and boiler fired

So here is a loofah and some soap


[A bag of Hershey kisses.]: A kiss for every thought of missing you

Ian and Stephen took me to Jimmy Johns for my first meal home! Beach club sub with no sprouts, chips and a cherry coke. And there was much rejoicing.

Is what I planned, I didn’t think it through

It’s really not the total count

I can’t afford the full amount

So these will have to do


[A box of Puffs Tissues} When changes get you down as they unfurl

With these in hand, in bed, you’ll cry and curl

But note, your little brothers get

The right to point and laugh a bit

And call you such a girl :)


[A jar of Nutella.]

 I know that cocoa makes you dance and sing

Nutella, the next item that I bring

Not really chocolate, but you know

That if you give this stuff a go

It goes on everything


[A bar of emergency chocolate (Because somebody knows his sister.)]:

On days when life is being so unkind

And desperation hits, I think you’ll find

A chocolate bar is just the thing

An end to troubles it may bring

If nothing else, it might help you unwind


[A jug of laundry detergent. Hallelujah, amen.]:

The sorry state of Senegal-cleaned clothes

Will have the boys fleeing, hand at nose

Your laundry now need really not

Be soaked by tub in water hot

Detergent and the washer will fix those.


I love him, I do.

It’s time for a run-but stay tuned for stories of leaving, and stories of coming home. After all, I haven’t even mentioned the most highly anticipated airport tackle hug that the world has ever seen [or the rest of Kellan’s trip to NC].

And I do believe that this little gem begs for some sort of explanation…

Though now that I stop to ponder it, what really is there to say?

It’s good to see you, America. :)


Filed under Family, Home

2 responses to “Oh, Brother.

  1. Karen McGee

    oh my word, you and i are kindred spirits. that sweet array of gifts from bro are exactly what i leapt for when i first arrived at home. love it!

  2. Marissa

    Congratulations on being home! I must admit, I’m a little jealous. The beach club with sprouts and cherry coke is MY favorite…..enjoy. Enjoy enjoy…..for all of us!

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