Where do I begin to write about my brother Jacob? I have always wanted to write a piece about him because he is the most fascinating person I know. But it is difficult to find words to explain who he is, and what he means to me. He is the one person I wish I could have known since the day he was born, but he is nine years older than I am so what I do know about him as a small child are all stories from our dad, his mom, and our older sister.
His mom had a normal and healthy pregnancy, but when Jake was born he had a high fever; and the rest is history.
Even when he’s not around our family is quoting him; even in his absence he is making us laugh. He is such a memorable person. Anyone who has met him adores and those who have not anxiously await the day that they will get to meet the world famous Jakey-boy Wade.
He is undoubtedly a funny guy. His impression of The Rock’s People’s Eyebrow will alone make you fall in love with him. He possesses a self-confidence comparable to James Dean, and takes great pride in his family and accomplishments. He is the oldest of ten kids, has a job, and has his own apartment (assisted living, but he doesn’t see it as we do; to him he owns his own mansion). He graduated high school and was the only person who got a standing ovation in his class, a moment that brought our father to tears. He says that this was when he knew that Jake was going to be okay. He went on to attend our local community college and graduated with his Associates Degree.
He has a long-term girlfriend, who he just loves to death. They are pretty funny together, because she is deaf and he can’t ever seem to stop talking. They make each other smile and love to dance at their yearly bowling tournament awards ceremony. Jake never misses the chance to dance the night away, alone or with a partner; he is the guy out there shaking his grove thang (this time with self-confidence comparable to Elvis Presley himself). He loves music and his ultimate jam is George Thorogood’s Bad to the Bone.
Growing up with a brother who is “different” was no different than growing up with my other siblings; he got on my nerves, we fought, we loved, we hugged, and then we fought some more. As his siblings, we got into fights with anyone who picked on him, and we never let anyone disrespect him. I can remember being a child and sneaking into his bed at night when I was scared because I needed to be close to my big brother, who would surely protect me against the ghost that lived in our house.
Jake is very in-tune with his sibling’s emotions and is always the first one to ask “what’s wrong?”, followed up with the most embracing and warm hug you’ll ever get. He feels so happy when he knows that he has helped someone in need, and he’s been known to say, “I’m such a good big brother”. He loves being a big brother; it is his greatest role in life.
Our father never treated us differently and had the same expectations for him as he did for the rest of us: to be a good person, to help others as much as you can, be respectful of other people, always behave and mind our manners, and to do our chores. He never cleaned the bathroom, but he would get our lawnmower out, fill it with gas and mow our lawn, as well as our two elderly neighbor’s lawns. If he broke the rules or had an attitude, he had the same punishments as the rest of us. With a family that large you learn to go with the flow; and that guy can definitely flow. He doesn’t require more than anyone else, except he needs help slicking his hair back.
When we have nice events to attend, he loves to get dressed up and is totally the bell of the ball (Cinderella this time). The only thing is, he always needs help to comb his hair back. He lacks the fine motor skills to do it right and spray the bottle of hair spray to keep that insanely soft hair of his in place. The sweetest thing you’ll ever see is when our father helps him with his hair. As Jake slightly tilts his head back and closes his eyes, our father gently combs his hair, spraying little sprits of hairspray until it is absolutely perfect. After, when Jake opens his eyes and looks in the mirror, he’ll compliment himself: “Looking good, Jakey-boy Wade… looking good.”
He loves sports and game shows. He hoots and hollers and cheers on the players, both at sporting events and in our living room. He likes to high –five whoever happens to be next to him, and even though you’re watching the same game as he is, he will definitely give you the play-by-play to make sure you are seeing everything through his eyes.
Jake is a huge wrestling fan. He never misses a Monday Night Raw, and goes to the WWE events with our brother, Bobby. He turns into Rico Suave when he meets the divas, and when you ask him about them he chuckles and says that they are very, very pretty.
One of the biggest highlights of Jake’s life was meeting The Rock in Berkeley. The Rock was filming there and our brother took him to wait in the parking lot to see if they could sneak a chance to meet the man that Jake idolizes the most in this world (next to our father). They waited outside for hours, and even when it began to rain, Jake wanted to stay. Fun fact: Jake hates getting wet. He is like a cat. One little sprinkle on his hair and he is in the worst mood for the rest of the day. But his love for The Rock trumped his hate for the rain. When everyone else in the parking lot gave up and left, they stayed. And just when it looked like he was never going to come out, The Rock came over to my brothers and introduced himself. Of course Jake did the people’s eyebrow for him and he laughed. They took a picture together, and just like that, The Rock made my brother the happiest person on this planet. Our family is forever grateful for that moment because Jake has loved him from the very beginning of his career. He watches all his movies, and to him there is no better wrestler; he is the King.
Some people might be wondering (naturally so), “What’s wrong with him; what’s his diagnoses? Surely he has been diagnosed with something!” The answer to that is, Jake is just Jake; he has no diagnosis. He was tested as a child, a teenager and an adult. The results were inconclusive, which was and continues to be frustrating for doctors. He has nothing that is in a book, nothing that anyone has ever seen before. He is just Jacob Wade; in all his glory and awesomeness.
My favorite thing about Jake is that he is the most forgiving person I have ever known; he will never hold your mistakes over your head, even the ones that broke his heart. His capacity for forgiveness and love knows no boundaries. He gets upset, he gets frustrated, and feels emotions that take him a while to understand, but he never hates. As his little sister I have seen him show a level of empathy and compassion that not many other people possess; and I admire that about him. He has taught me more about unconditional love and forgiveness than anyone else in my life; and I couldn’t have asked for a better person to learn this from.
When I began to write this piece I went in circles for a few weeks. How would I be able to do him justice? Would any of this make sense to the readers? How do I explain Jake?
It’s simple: I love him. I love every single inch of that crazy man. I love him no differently than my other siblings; I love him even when he’s a jerk and I love him even when he’s being weird. The fact that he is who he is, with no labels, no restrictions, and no book to explain why he does whatever odd things he does (and there are plenty), makes me love him even more.
Jake has definitely made us closer as a family. He took the role of big brother and ran with it; and exceeded anyone and everyone’s expectations. We are better people because of him; and that deserves to be written about.
by Karlee Wade