Being an older sister to a boy is the single greatest gift.
He sits right across from me at the kitchen table as I write this post. We’re having breakfast, and I smile as I recognize the fact that he’s eaten the same thing for breakfast every single day for the past five years: a berry smoothie with fresh, homemade chocolate chip muffins. I laugh because he eats his muffins in the weirdest way, picking them up from the top and eating the bottom first—who does that?! My little brother, that’s who.
I can’t believe he’s eighteen years old. When he was born, my entire world changed. My mom said I’d have a baby brother and not once was I upset or jealous. However, I did attempt to steal the spotlight at his baptism when I decided to perform a tap dance on the altar. So while I was the louder, attention-seeking child always looking for activity, my brother was most comfortable sitting quietly in his room with a Lego set. I watch home videos and see this dynamic play out on the screen—there’s me, jumping around dizzily from one game to another, while my brother sits cross-legged in the back corner with a soft smile building his 600-piece Death Star Lego set. So as I’ve gotten older, I have recognized that I can learn a thing or two from this kid.
He’s a homebody, and I’ve learned to be one too. Well, not all the time, but every now and then I embrace a quiet evening in my living room instead of trying to rally a squad together to hit the town. But that’s not to say my brother doesn’t like to go out and about. Rather, he prefers a trip to the gym, a day on the ocean kayak, or fishing with his buddies. Anything that’s outdoors, he’s all about it. I do take some credit for his love of fitness—I encouraged him to try out for the crew team in high school, which he resented me for at first. However, to he and his coach’s delight, my brother turned out to be a superb rower. So there’s another trait I admire—his perseverance in the face of a challenge.
Speaking of challenges, we’ve encountered many in our lives. When we were younger, they were far more trivial. For example, if someone was picking on my brother at the playground, I’d swoop in and show that little twat who is boss. My brother did the same for me, despite the fact he’s three years younger. We were always sensitive of each other’s feelings, so when he’d have to sit in time-out for misbehaving, I’d be the one to start bawling. As we’ve matured, our lives have brought on more hardships. My parents recently separated, then I had to leave school for a few months to recover from an illness. However, these were the times my brother and I became closer than ever. We used to not be so communicative, but that quickly changed. He took such amazing care of me, watching movies from my bed and driving me around town if I needed to go anywhere. Now, we are totally candid and can talk all day long about anything (turns out I give some great girl advice and he is my personal boyfriend whisperer).
I also have my brother to thank for keeping me politically informed. The kid has a passion for politics and we have spent many nights together huddled around the television, eating Trader Joe’s oreos and watching all of the presidential debates. He even dragged me to a convention in Orlando. These are some of the greatest memories I have with him because it inspires me to watch him in his element.
So, all in all, I thank God for him each and every day. There is something extra special about having a younger brother—I’ve learned so much about myself and even about men and how they think just from being around him. I am beyond blessed to have such an inspiration and light in my life. His future is bright, and mine is too, just because he’s in it.
Image courtesy of Shuttershock.