The pic isn’t great quality but the memory sure is. Christmas Day 2005, I think. Ben, as per tradition, was visiting and also per tradition, had to ruin (or make epically better) every photo ever taken of him. Mr. Cooper, between us, seems to have a Christmas name tag or label stuck to his head. I’m sure we were waiting for my Mother to come task us with something or chase us around the kitchen with some sort of tongs. To her, Ben was like having another kid. Better, perhaps, as I bet he never asked her to loan him money or tried to move in with her in his 30’s. <ahem>
Fast forward to this Christmas morning and I’m so grateful to have had these two in my life for as long as I did. They both did their best to love and protect me, and I tried my best to return the favor. They are both gone now and my Christmases have a little less sparkle, but like the Grinch, my heart is exponentially larger for holding them both inside it.