I’ll never forget the day when my daughter called me to announce that she was pregnant with twins. Her voice wavered and she burst into tears prompted by both joy and fear of how she would manage to care for two babies at once. She already had a five year old and a three year old and doubling the size of the family overnight sounded daunting to her. She is a strong woman however and so she did her best to take the news in stride and prepare for the changes that her life would undergo. After a difficult pregnancy and delivery her beautiful baby boys, Benjamin Fisk and Eli Loren Greene, were born with a gift for bringing unadulterated joy into the world.
The Greene boys were quite a pair, identical twins with big blue eyes and smiles that never left their faces. Their relaxed and easy going personalities made them easy to blend into the family and all of my daughter’s fears of being overwhelmed faded as they became more and more delightful with each passing day. They looked so alike that she dressed Benjamin in blue so that we might more easily tell them apart. Eventually their unique personalities emerged and it was easy to know who was who.
Benjamin is older by a few minutes. He has a charismatic personality guided by his genuine interest in people and his inviting smile. He is a risk taker who is unafraid to accept challenges both academically and athletically. He stands out in a crowd and seems to have been born to be a leader.
Many years ago we took Ben along with his cousin Abby on a vacation to Washington D.C. and New York City. He met people wherever we went and was so taken by historical exhibits in the Capitol and the Smithsonian Museums. He earnestly became enthralled with learning about people and scientific discoveries. Then he embraced the vitality of New York City as though he had been born to be there. He was breathless over seeing The Phantom of the Opera and he stole the show from a group of street performers when they chose him to do some acrobatics with them. Even they said that he was an exceptional young man and told us that they believed he would do amazing things one day.
Since then Ben has become a championship swimmer, leading his school’s rely team as its captain to school records and a trip to the state meet. He worked hard to become the Drum Major of the school band and once again demonstrated his skills in understanding and working with people. Recently the band awarded his efforts with their highest scholarship that he will take to college where he plans to major in business beginning in the fall.
Until then Ben will serve as a coach for the Greatwood Gators swim team while also working as a warehouse assistant for IES. He is also landscaping his family home after the destruction of many of the plants during the February freeze in Texas. His energy, enthusiasm and optimism seems boundless.
Eli is quieter, more introspective, observant, cautious. He notices things that other people do not see. He too is a people person but in a different kind of way. He possesses a profound sort of empathy that allows him to realize when someone is hurt or suffering. As a child he was able to find things that nobody else observed. We used to laugh at his ability to see things that were seemingly invisible and joke that he should be a detective or a research scientist.
Eli is a championship swimmer and a runner but without a doubt it is track and cross country that he most loves. In a race he looks like a gazelle, a beautiful figure with a style and a kick that is beyond amazing. In the solitude of a race he competes with himself, always hoping to shave a second here and there from his time. He quietly works on perfecting his skills with a kind of introspection that allows him to notice the smallest variation in his stride or even the way he breathes.
We took Eli on a trip with his cousin Ian just as we had done with Ben and Abby. The two boys were a perfect pair. They complimented one another in every possible way and filled our days with laughter and their joy of discovery. Eli insisted that no day was a vacation day without ice cream and that diets and frugality had little place on a trip. He showed us all how to relax and enjoy the moment with stories and jokes that made us continually laugh. It felt so easy being with him.
Eli is also academically excellent. He learns quickly and is filled with deep thoughts that sometimes confound us with their wisdom and brilliance. He easily became a member of the National Honor Society, adding academic gold to his many accomplishments. While he is still a bit uncertain about what to study at Trinity University where he will study next fall while continuing to run with the cross country team, he is leaning toward psychology because of his fascination with people and the human mind. His introspection and intellect will serve him well in whatever direction he decides to go. Like his brother he too won a coveted scholarship from the athletic department of his high school that he will use in tandem with the academic scholarship that the university had already given him.
During the summer Eli will continue to work as a caddy at Sugar Creek Golf Club as well working as a warehouse assistant for IES just like Ben. He continues to serve as a kind of monitor for our family with his uncanny ability to notice when any of us need a bit more attention or help. He is quiet but intensely strong.
Both Ben and Eli worked hard to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout. They built an archery range at a local park that will delight visitors for years to come. More than that though they demonstrated their dedication to hard work, challenging routines and long days in pursuit of goals.
Benjamin and Eli will graduate from George Ranch High School tomorrow evening. They have been quite a pair growing up in the Greatwood neighborhood and standing out for both their uniqueness and their acumen in so many areas. Sometimes known as “those Greene boys” or “The Mean Greene Machine” because of their athletic prowess they have both followed their own paths using talents and hard work to express who each of them really is. As they move apart for the first time in their lives their futures look so bright and I wish them all the very best.
Congratulations, Ben and Eli, you are such fine young men and I am one very proud Gammy who will continue to cheer you on for the rest of your lives.