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An Open Letter To My Brothers: Thank You For Letting Me Be Your Big Sister

Growing up, my siblings and I were constantly busy. From running to sports practices, community service clubs and study groups, we were always two ships passing in the night. Don’t get me wrong, it was so awesome to be in such a motivating and inspiring environment where all of us drew strength from one another. However, even though I kept up to date on what my brothers were doing, I never felt like I knew how they were doing. 

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Then, March of 2020 hit and I was given a second chance to reconnect with them. Being home and not having any of the distractions that usually plagued our lives, I was finally able to build a relationship with both of them. What started as just popping into one another's rooms to talk about a funny thing our pets did transformed into ice cream runs, long talks during car rides and movie nights. I finally felt like I was fulfilling the “big sister” role I had always wanted to. 

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By having this time together, I learned about their goals, aspirations, worries and so much more that was never talked about. I began to feel that they would really rely on me to be there to support them when life became more chaotic. Additionally, by having this time and space with each other, so much trust was created. I never realized that even with siblings, you have to put time and effort into your relationships. You can’t take something for granted or expect your relationship to be a certain way just because you're related. I think this was a key concept that never clicked for me until now. 

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I love my brothers. Now being in the position where I can not only help guide them through suggesting classes or which clubs to participate in but to really be there when they need a shoulder to lean on or just someone to rant to is something I would not trade for the world. I now know that there is so much more to being a sibling than setting the stage for your younger siblings by doing well in school or making positive relationships with teachers they will have years after you. You have to be able to be there for them, communicate with them and most importantly, let them be heard. Through this experience, I not only learned to be a better big sister, but I have learned to be a better friend. Thank you so much boys, you are everything to me.

Ava Burford is a junior at UCLA. She is passionate about uplifting others through her writing, philanthropic work and blog. She is apart of the sorority Pi Beta Phi and enjoys running and being with her family in her free time.
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