Being the oldest of four children, I’ve gotten to watch my siblings grow up. It’s weird, watching them all get older, I have no other way to describe it. Over time, I have developed fairly different relationships with each of my siblings. With Savanna, who’s ten, I’m the mature older sister who puts stickers on her nails and is supportive of her art. With Matthew, who’s almost thirteen, I’m the strict older sister who is worried about how often he plays video games. And with Junior, who’s twenty, I’m the older sister who wishes to be a better sibling. However, they all have one factor in common: I will always be there for them. I will always love them, even when it’s complicated, because the love between siblings is a complication within itself.
The relationship between my brother Junior and me is probably the most complicated. Despite being only two years older than him, there are times where I feel there is a whole generation of differences that lie between us. Where he’s outgoing, I’m more reserved. Where he’s impulsive, I tend to be more calculated. However, that also means when I’m shy, he brings me out of my shell. When I’m not taking any risks, he teaches me there’s value to taking some. There are times when I feel like he’s my best friend, like I can share anything with him. And then there are times where we don’t talk for months. When we were both in high school, I thought it was normal to not see my brother for weeks at a time. I thought it was normal to not talk to him for even longer. I thought it was normal to know absolutely nothing about my little brother. I found out later on, that this was, in fact, not normal.
I now know this is unusual, that there is no such thing as having a “normal” relationship with your siblings. The relationships we have with our siblings are all unique. They won’t stay the same forever; they weren’t meant to be stagnant. Instead, they’re fluid, and as we change as people, the relationship changes as well. However, there are times where I can’t help but think, what happened to us?
I remember when Junior and I were little, we spent most of our time together. Having Nerf battles and fighting over the prize in the cereal box were just daily occurrences. However, people grow, and they change. I always tell myself, “he’s changed,” without coming to realize I have changed as well. He’s no longer the button-up-wearing, drinking orange juice out of a sippy cup little boy I knew him to be. First off, he’s got a better sense of style and fashion now. I am also no longer the Barbie-obsessed, soccer-playing little girl I used to be. We’ve both changed, we’ve grown, and I am learning to accept that.
I used to long for the familiar little brother who played video games with me every Christmas Eve, but now I know there’s no point in longing for the past. Especially not when the present is here. Not when the future holds endless possibilities. My little brother is still with me, and although we may not be the same kids we once were, we have the opportunity to be even greater siblings now.
Here it is. This is where I try harder and think differently, not to make us like what we used to be, but rather to make use of the present and its opportunities. We’ve both grown as people and are now technically adults. And adults make phone calls to one another every day. As an adult, I should be able to do so too. So, I guess now it’s my turn. I guess now is as good as ever to call my brother, start fresh, and say “I love you, Junior.”