My Brother

Erika - Tualatin, Oregon
Entered on May 20, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

I believe that my brother is an inspiration, he just doesn’t know it. Okay, maybe this is a little weird, but to me he has been nothing less. My brother, Ben, has always been my motivation, my competition, and my companion. We are there for each other when times get rough, but we also make sure that we are trying our hardest and keeping our heads up. I wouldn’t call my brother shy because he can talk to just about any random person off the street, but he’s also very modest. That’s something that I admire in him. I’m really shy, and don’t like to talk to people unless I’ve already been introduced, and even then I still feel uncomfortable, but my brother has a personality that is so caring and understanding that it makes him really easy to relate to and to connect with.

Obviously, I didn’t always feel this way. When I was first born, he was only four and in his new-baby-sister-is-the-coolest-thing-ever stage. He used me as the evil villain when he was Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and he’d battle with me to save the world, or in his case, our couch. When I became a toddler, he would try his new karate moves on me (gently of course), and I would try to copy them on him. I wanted to do everything just like him.

At about this same age, my grandparents came all the way from Nebraska to visit us in Nevada. I was really excited to see them, and my brother was pretty hyper as well. I thought my older brother of four years was about the coolest thing, so when he started jumping on the couch and leaping off the atamans, I did the same. Because I was only three, I didn’t have that great of balance, so I’d jump off of an ataman, fall on my butt, start laughing, and do it again. It probably didn’t help that my parents were very amused by it too. Then, one time when I jumped off, I fell down, started laughing, and then crying. My dad came over to see what had happened, and I had a huge needle going through my foot and the skin was propped up on top, like a little tent. My dad tried to get it out with a pair of pliers, but it didn’t work, so he had to take me to the hospital. Surprisingly, this was about my third visit to the hospital in my three short years; two of which were because of my brother. From my early years, he’s taught me to be tough and to care for others around me.

When I was about four, my family moved to Florida. This is when my brother went through his jerk stage. I was of course the little annoying sister that would always insist on playing with him and his friends. I remember one time I was helping my mom get ready for my brother’s pirate-themed tenth birthday party and there was a scavenger hunt involved. I had seen my mom stash a whole bag of Snickers in the mailbox so when my brother opened the first clue, I took off towards the mailbox. I opened it up, and the Snickers poured out so of course all the other boys came chasing after me. I basically ruined my brother’s whole birthday. Now that I look back I can kind of see that my brother may have had a reason to be mean to me, but back then I didn’t understand it. During this time, I learned that I was no longer the baby, and people wouldn’t always love me just because I was young and cute, but that I would have to start learning how to interact with others and treat them with respect.

After Florida, we moved to Oregon and my brother and I still didn’t get along that well. It was pretty much like that until my brother was a junior in high school. I think it was partly because he knew he would be leaving for college soon and partly because I had matured a lot more, but we seemed to be getting along much better. We could play jokes off of each other, and I could understand the more complicated conversations that we had during dinner. I don’t remember the day my brother left for college, but I definitely remember his high school graduation. It was the first time it hit me that my big brother and I would never share the same relationship. Of course we would stay close and see each other every once in awhile, but we would never be living together anymore. If I had friend trouble, or Spanish homework I needed help with, or someone to come kill the spider in my room, I would have to do it myself.

So, this last time when I visited my brother in college and I found out that he had started smoking, I was very disappointed. I asked him why he did it and made sure he knew that girls did not find it attractive, and that I would never do anything like that. He replied “It’s because you’re more important in this world than I am.” That absolutely crushed me, and I almost started crying on the spot. I don’t think my brother understands how much he means to me, and how much I enjoy spending time with him, or how much I’ve learned from him. Everything he has done has taught me in one way or another. Whether it’s to not make his same mistakes or how to throw a Frisbee, he has truly been my inspiration. I just wish he could see it.