I just wrote a post about my sister. It was a long overdue post, and said things like how proud I am of her and how cool she is — things I should say more often.
But while I was writing it, I kept thinking about the fact that I have a brother, too, who is just as cool as my sister. And really, instead of writing about him, I should just tell him randomly that I like him and think he’s a really cool person. But since I’m an hour and a half away at school, and since I’ve already written a lot about my sister for everyone who happens to read this blog to see, it’s time to introduce you to my brother, too.
I was five when my brother was born. The only thing I remember about his infancy was that I was days from starting kindergarten, and on the morning of his birth, when my grandmother asked me to “guess what I had new today,” I confidently told her, “A lunch box!”
I do remember him being a toddler, though. I loved him when he was a toddler. I thought he was cute. But as he got older, I got more and more frustrated with him, because it seemed that he always wanted to be doing what my sister and I were doing. I didn’t want to add a new companion to our playtime. What 9-year-old kid wants to let her 4-year-old brother follow her around? Maybe some do, but I didn’t. And I didn’t know how to swallow my selfish desire for things not to change, and so I have to admit I could be pretty mean to my poor brother when he was little. I wouldn’t let him play with me and my sister. I would tell him he was annoying and a pest. (All of which I regret deeply now.)
Looking back, I think part of this is because I do not have an innate need to have a lot of friends. At this point in life, I have three-ish people I talk to on a regular basis, and that’s counting my sister and boyfriend. It’s a part of my nature to not branch out if all my social needs are met, and when I was 9, 10, 11, all I needed was my sister. I didn’t want to make the changes that a new sibling required.
There was also the age difference to think about. Age matters a lot when you’re young, and with five years between us, we’ve always been at different stages of life. When I started middle school, he was in second grade. When I started high school, he was 9. When I began college, he was barely 13. I’ve always been focused on my own life, not really bothering to ask him how he was doing or what he was interested in, and not really knowing how.
My boyfriend has a theory that brothers just usually aren’t as close to their siblings as sisters are. And maybe that’s true. But I also know that my sister and brother seem to have a fairly close relationship. Part of this is because they were the only kids at home after I left for school, and they’re also a bit closer in age. But sometimes another part of me thinks the reason we are not closer is because I ruined our chances in childhood. By telling him he was annoying all the time, did I push him away forever?
I seriously hope not. Because now that we are both older, I really appreciate how he has grown as a person. He’s very crafty with his hands, and built his own homemade forge in the backyard with which he makes his own knives and tools. He likes to learn by watching YouTube and researching blacksmithing processes online. He’s also into 4H and shoots skeet and other things. I won’t even pretend to know what I’m talking about when it comes to shooting sports, but he got his own shotgun for Christmas and is getting better at whatever it is he’s doing with that.
He’s also told me recently, offhandedly, that he’s been writing some. He described a scene of a story he was typing out. It was full of action, as I would have expected. I don’t know whether this story was for school or enjoyment, but either way it made me happy to see him being creative with words. My siblings and I are all so vastly different, but all of us enjoy writing. And I love that.
I worry sometimes if my brother knows that I love him and appreciate him as a person. I try to let him know in little ways. I’ve been known to leave notes in his room on occasion telling him that he’s “awesome sauce.” Over Christmas break, to remind me to pick him up from school, he put a note in my car telling me to “pick up favorite brother!”, which I did every day. We don’t chat a whole lot, but when we do it’s friendly and enjoyable. In light of our hugely contrasting personalities, I think on the whole we have a good relationship.
Sibling relationships are weird. Some siblings I know can’t stand each other, or are always in competition. Some siblings can’t overcome their differences as children and distance themselves from their families. And others stay friends even after they’ve all left their childhood home.
I honestly think that my siblings and I will be like that. When all three of us are together, we have a great time. They are the friends I never would have chosen if we weren’t related. We three have discussed that before — if we all were to have met not as siblings, we would be friendly to each other, of course, but none of us would have bothered to get to know the others. But I guess that’s what family is supposed to be.
I said this already in the post about my sister, but I wish everyone had siblings like mine.