Do you know this guy? If you don't then you should. This is my brother, Chuyu*.
Chuyu is the youngest boy in a family with five girls. He used to say he felt like he had six mothers. That's probably why he turned out so great.
Want proof? You've probably heard the story about Easter weekend when he dressed himself in a pink bunny suit made with his own two hands, bought several bags of candy, and handed treats out all over Provo just to make people smile.
But do you know this story? Chuyu was the first to arrive at our parents' house in Burton last December for Christmas. My family arrived a few days later, still well before the Christmas crowd of 30 (or so). One morning, when Mom and Dad were at work, I decided I'd surprise mom by cleaning the whole house and making meals and getting everything ready for the big event. All in one morning. And then I had the tiniest little meltdown after realizing that I couldn't do it all. And John said, "I'll help you." And he did. He dug in and peeled 20 pounds of apples for the three huge pans of apple crisp we enjoyed all week. And then he cleaned and bustled and cooked for the rest of the afternoon. I don't remember what I got done--probably bon bon testing on the couch. But Chuyu was cheerful and sweet, and he didn't even turn into a freaked out frazzled mess like I usually do on such occasions.
Want more? Last summer, during our family reunion vacation in Tennessee--when he was still pretty shy about strangers--Sam took an immediate liking to Chuyu. We have video of Sam climbing off my lap, walking across the room and throwing his arms in the air toward Chuyu, as if to say "please, save me!" And Chuyu did. They got to be good buddies.
I think of Chuyu as my buddy too. After I graduated from college, I spent part of the summer living with Mom and Dad in New Castle, Pennsylvania. Chuyu was still living at home, so it gave us a chance to hang out. I still remember fondly one afternoon driving around with him in my new car, listening to music. I stopped at an empty parking lot, and let Chuyu take the car for a few laps. Later, we stopped at a convenience store and he bought me a can of sardines. (Yeah, I didn't really get that part either. But it was sweet.)
Chuyu is currently waiting to receive his mission call. It's been a long time coming. Before he could even put his mission papers in, he had to get some orthodontic work done in preparation for major oral surgery. With one frustrating setback after another, the process stretched on for four long years. And yet, his desire to serve a mission never waned. He's enthusiastic and committed, hardworking and compassionate. I have no doubt that he'll be the most coveted companion in his mission. Probably the world.
I love you, Chuyu. Happy Birthday!
*Names have been changed.