Happy 19th, Miles!
What?? Two blog posts in one day?? Madness!
Just kidding. Today is a very special day, but not because of that. Today is my brother Miles’s nineteenth birthday!
Now, birthdays are always fun celebrations in the Jones house, but today, Miles is not having a birthday party (at least, not with us). Instead, Mr. Independent is all the way down in Chile, where he is completely isolated from outside contact for three months as he backpacks, mountaineers, and sea kayaks his way across Patagonia. What that means is that he will not see this post until he gets back to the United States, so I can write basically anything without repercussions for several months. (Just kidding, Miles!)
Before you ask, no, he is not doing this crazy adventure by himself. He is enrolled in a NOLS program and is therefore with a small handful of peers and instructors. This does not, however, minimize the extraordinary insanity of this trip. Miles trained all summer and hiked through the Hoosier wilderness with a backpack full of encyclopedias and exercise weights to prepare. Surprisingly, he completely avoided getting chiggers. My mom, his loyal hiking partner, did not.
I am extraordinarily proud of this crazy kid for embarking on this adventure, but I am especially proud of the incredible young man he has become. He is my inspiration and my constant teaser, someone against whom I don’t think I’ll ever win an argument because even if I’m right, he breaks me down to laughter before we can finish. When he was little, our family friends called him “Smiley” because his joy was so infectious. Some things never change. When I FaceTimed him, just before he left for Patagonia, he was sitting on his bed with two of the three family dogs around him. I learned from he and Mom that he had begun referring to our dog Lexi as “Chubs,” our dog Vinny as “Frog,” and our dog Manny as “Smelly.” Funnily enough, all three dogs had begun responding to said nicknames, and Lexi had gained a small handful of pounds due to the sheer quantity of treats he fed her behind Mom’s back.
Miles, you are one of the kindest, truest people I have ever known, and I could not be prouder to be your older sister. I am praying for you from afar (very afar) that this adventure opens your eyes and heart more than you could possibly imagine, and that you have the time of your life. You’re only nineteen once, and as you enter into your very last year as a teenager, I hope you make the absolute most of every second. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, to make friends, to take care of yourself and of others. Learn who Miles Jones is, and don’t be afraid to become him.
Happy birthday, Miles. I hope it is absolutely phenomenal.