Much has been said and written about the beauty of a solid, loving bond between sisters and, to a lesser degree, brothers. But rarely — too rarely, it seems to me — is the notion of the more broad subject of sibling love, regardless of gender or age, approached with nearly as much attention. This is an incredible shame, because there are few things better, in youth, than having a sibling you truly care about- and yet there are many, many people who, through their mistakes and those of the people around them, have experienced but a shadow of what it is to be so close, so friendly, to the people they grew up around.
I’ve been an older brother for some ten years now, and have borne witness to my sister’s growth — indeed, the very formulation of her character — all the while. She has become, over the years, my constant companion and friend, despite our sizeable age difference, and, in many ways, our very different personalities and temperaments. We have very little in common- her passionate nature contrasts sharply with my practicality, her outgoing friendliness with my taste for introverted reflection. Yet as time has worn on, we have come to share far more interests and pastimes than I would once have thought possible.
My role in her life has changed much as she has grown: a doting, prideful little protector in her infancy and toddler days, an oft-disinclined playmate as she grew a little older, and, following that, a semi-reclusive, semi-irritable young teen who preferred to be left alone, thank you very much. But my current position is yet my favorite: an amalgam of a sagacious, reassuring elder brother and a confidential friend — the sort of person she can go to with a serious question one minute and have a laugh with the next. We aren’t universally harmonious, to be sure, but for the most part, watching her grow up has been an indescribable joy. To know I have had such an influence in the wonderful, kind, and intelligent ten-year-old that she has become fills me with pride every day, and I’ve grown, in many ways, as dependant on her as she is on me- for there are none with whom I feel more comfortable and myself.
It may be that some brothers and sisters are incompatible, that they are too different to ever become anywhere near as close to their kin as I am to mine. But I believe in the importance of siblings, and I believe in sibling bonds. I speak now to siblings everywhere, be they child, teen, or even adult: please, for your own sake, do your utmost to get to know your brothers and sisters. Be kind, be gentle, ask them questions, share interests. Because, as naïve as this request may sound to you rivalry-hardened teens and distant adults, I believe that bringing a little more love into the world –and potentially gaining a friend for life– is worth a little effort.