Dear Brother:

Man, I can’t believe you didn’t end up hating me. I was such a terrible older sister, always pushing you around, yelling at you, even hitting you. The four years between us should have allowed me to be more loving, to be sweeter to you, but I was one jealous little monster. First grandchild on Mom’s side of the family and one of the few girls on Dad’s side of the family, I was used to getting all the attention. That’s still no excuse for how incredibly mean I was to you, but I guess it’s a part of the reason– other than, y’know, the fact that I was born with a very sour disposition that I seem to have shed (for the most part, anyway).

I looked at old family photo albums a couple of weeks ago and I could not believe what a cherubic, sweet little boy you were– always smiling and throwing up the “peace” sign, one eye winking cheekily closed. Somehow when I was an impetuous, petulant ‘tween, I didn’t see that in you at all. I saw a whiney, snot-nosed little boy who got more care and attention than I ever did. What incredible lenses I saw through. You had the most adorable little smile and you were just so so cute.

I envied you a bit, I think, because you were cuter than me.

Then you hit your ‘tweens and I started to exit my teens and I finally seemed to be able to see you as this real person, as my brother, as a fellow carrier of the potent family mojo. I started taking you to Barnes & Noble with me, and we’d actually joke together more than just yell or punch each other. We became confederates. I remember once how Dad looked at both of us, then glanced over at our baby pictures on the wall, and lamented on how both of his children started out all lovely white and somehow ended up becoming these brown beasts. It amuses me still.

I’m so proud of you for everything you did in high school, for your positivity, for your accomplishment, for you standing up to mom and dad about moving out for your first year of college. You had some cojones that I didn’t when it came to that. And I love you for your reaction when I came out to you: “I was wondering when you were going to tell me!” and something to the effect of “duh, I still love you.”

Too often I feel like I have a very awkward grasp of how to hold onto and nurture interpersonal relationships and that’s something I admire about you. You’ve turned out wonderfully despite my early abusiveness, and as we get older I find that I like you more and more, for the fact of who you are more than just the fact that you’re my brother.

Kiddo, you’re awesome. And you know it. And when you read that, I know that you’d say “I know” to me like the snot-nosed, faux-conceited brat you are (another trait we share).

Love ya,