I remember the day that Jeffry was born very well-one set of grandparents were volunteering at the polls, and I was staying with the other grandparents while my parents were at the hospital. Earlier in mom's pregnancy with Jeff there had been some complications (I think I remember that he wasn't growing as much as he should have been at one point) so we all had prayed a lot for him. We didn't know it was a "him" though, so I was earnestly praying for the little sister I thought I wanted so badly. Well, at some point in the afternoon my grandma interrupted my roller-skating to tell me that I had another new little brother. I remember feeling disappointed. Ha ha, poor Jeff. Little did I know how much I would treasure being the big sis of three brothers! With no one to steal my clothes and makeup. ;) Our parents named the newest brother, Jeffry Ellis Isaac Storey. Evidently mom's labor had been particularly easy, and because of the relief of knowing he was okay in there, she spent much of the labor laughing (WTH??), hence Isaac, which means "laughter" in Hebrew. I guess Dad liked Elijah, but it was vetoed by my mom, who offered the modern form, "Ellis" as consolation. So three names it was. I got over my disappointment of not having a sister as soon as I saw the cute little guy, and consoled myself by dressing him in my old baby/child clothes a couple of times. As I did with my other brothers... more than once, and beyond the point of them being "babies", for which I got into great trouble by my dad who was adamantly raising "manly men". He succeeded, by the way. :) I wouldn't trade my brothers for the world. And that's an understatement.
Jeff has never really embodied the classic "baby of the family" persona (charmer, class clown, etc), he's always been secure in himself, independent, socially laid back, with an intense, take-charge personality that needs to get things right and direct people into doing things right (earning him the nickname "Boss of the Earth", among others). He's has always been the daredevil of the family; the rest of us would build snowboard (or skateboard, or bike, or trampoline) jumps and send Jeff down them first to see what needed to be perfected. Haha, what a little trooper he was! I have a bazillion pictures; one even shows Jeff as a small speck in the top of a tree, poised to jump off onto our trampoline, but of course they're all at my parents' house in Nevada, and I'm here in Minneapolis. This is the earliest picture I have right now, it was taken in Septemberish of 2000 when Jeff got his puppy, Champ.
Being the baby, Jeff always ended up on the receiving end of a lot of jokes. Like the time he got 98 mosquito bites (yes, we counted) and I told him it was a good thing he didn't get 100 because his face would droop down. He believed me with all of his little 6-year-old heart, especially since about a week later we just so happened to see a lady who had apparently suffered a stroke that caused her face to droop, who I pointed out as confirmation to my warning. I don't know when he realized I was pulling his leg. hahahaha He has loads of nicknames, including "Buka" (borrowed from a small child in church) which morphed into "Pika-Buka" because somehow the other boys found out that a certain disorder which causes people to eat one odd thing (like dirt) to the exclusion of anything else is called a pika. As a kid, Jeff was a picky eater, hence that name. (he eats everything now!) We also called him "Freckle-Eye" because he has a little freckle in the corner of his left eye. Once while at a mall with his pals, we got separated and decided to have Jeff paged... over the loudspeaker he heard "will Freckle-Eye Storey please come to the information booth, your party is waiting" while the rest of us dissolved in laughter. His most common nickname is "Geo-fry", shortened to "Geo". We got this from seeing the alternate spelling, "Geoffery". To this day we call him Geo. He was and is such a good sport! Once, he let me dress him & style his hair and take a bunch of pictures of him when I was taking a photography class in college, obligingly posing as I told him to.
In the last few years I've seen a transformation take place in Jeffry. He's gone from tagalong cute kid brother to a smart, responsible, good-looking young man, able to give advice even to his older brothers and sister. This obviously happened very gradually with him moving into his own place in Tahoe with David, getting a car, then moving far away to Idaho, and starting his own business.
But it took me by surprise when visiting my family in November of last year to realize that my baby brother is very grown up. I watched him talk on the phone with clients (double his age or more), draw up legal paperwork with the advice of lawyer friends, make wise business contacts, read books, network, and think through business plans and strategies. I was impressed. This is a guy with a sharp head on his shoulders who is going places and doing things with his life. Wow, that's my lil bro? The one who believed I had a removable, talking mole on my foot? Yeah, it is, and I'm so proud of the man he's becoming.
I love ya, Geo, and pray for you every day that you will not only be successful in your business ventures, but also that you would grow into the image of Christ more with every new year. Happy Birthday, brother-friend!