When our children, Brian and Julie, were born almost 30 years ago, our doctors, Dr. Maynard Rotermund and Dr. Luman Hughes had a very special offer for prospective parents of twins. If the parents-to-be would agree to name their newborns after both doctors, their services would be free. Even though the offer seemed quite tempting at the time, we had already chosen names for our children and the monikers, Luman and Maynard couldn't be found anywhere on our list. Our twins were born and as hoped, we named Brian Andrew after Tom's nephew and brother and Julie Loren, after my cousin and uncle. Month's passed, but we didn't forget the generous offer made by our most appreciated and dedicated doctors. Then, one day, I remembered that Dr. Rotermund's nickname was Bud and Dr. Hughes nickname was Lu. Although bills had already been paid and offers were now all but put aside, I began lovingly referring to my Julielu and Bud, remembering each time the generosity, care, and tenderness showered upon our little family before and after their arrival by our two good-humored and most excellent doctors. As it turned out, there was yet one more special deal for all those facing a multiple birth. We soon learned that upon the delivery of twins, our doctors charged full price for the first baby, and a penny for the second. This generous gesture would prove to be the first in a very long line of all sorts of benefits received from having been blessed with our two youngest children, born on the 24th of February, 1985.
For the first few months of their lives, passersby would often ask if Brian and Julie were identical twins. It became more and more apparent as they grew older that, in fact, they weren't and that they were as different as night and day. One afternoon, when they were three, Brian, Julie and I we were walking in the backyard of our beautiful red house, watching clouds drift by in the autumn sky. I asked Brian if he could tell me how many clouds would still be visible if we started with 5 clouds but two floated away and then 3 more came into view? He thought for just a moment and then rewarded us with a grin and the number "3". Julie and I were delighted and so we continued looking at the sky and asking Brian gradually more difficult scenarios and, with thought, he was always ready with the correct answer. Thinking it should now be Julie's turn and wanting to be fair, I began to ask her, "Julie, if there were..." Before I could say another word, she looked up at me from the seat of her tricycle and asked, "But what color are the clouds, Mommy?" Even then, the painter, sculptor, sketcher, writer, poet, dancer and gifted artist whom Julie was to become was beginning to take shape. And the thinker, soft talker, protector, humorous, witty, knowledgeable, honest, gentle man Brian would become had already taken hold in this little boy's thoughts and actions. Brian wanted answers and Julie wanted to create.
As they began life, Brian and Julie continue to grow and prosper as unique individuals, connected by a bond few of us will ever know or understand, an invisible bond that's stronger than most and one that will never be taken for granted. They continue to balance one another with their sense of passion, abilities to think, to solve problems, to create and understand, to explore, to nurture and to care. To their friends and family, Brian and Julie have been a source of immense joy from the very first moment they were made known, and have continued to fill our lives with wonder and delight to this day. Happy 30th birthday, my Bud and Julielu. We love you more than there are clouds in the sky.
"You're braver than you believe,
And stronger than you seem,
And smarter than you think."