1. My friends were always eyeing you up, and while I pretended to be grossed out by it, I was secretly proud that I’m related to you.
2. Raiding your closet for sweatshirts was, and is, and always will be so much easier than going out and buying my own.
3. Growing up together meant that between the two of us, we had the full survey of all sorts of toys.
4. Any and all damning photographs of those times I made you play dress up in my princess dresses will always serve as the ultimate blackmail.
5. You at least tried to school me in all things sports, cars, and video games — and whether or not I was into those things already, you made sure I could at least discuss these things and sound like I knew what I was talking about. (And these would come in handy later in life. So thank you.)
6. The minute you outsized Dad was a sweet, sweet minor victory in finally having someone on my side.
7. Your endless stream of advice when I were unsure how to act around a crush or why that boy in class said something and what he really meant by it, was absolutely indispensable, considering you think like a guy because, well, you are one.
8. Feeling like I had a built-in bodyguard whenever the two of us went places later in life might have been a little sexist — after all, I didn’t actively want you to get into a fight for my honor — but still, it’s a nice little perk.
9. And casually mentioning, “Oh, that’s my brother,” to any guy who tried to get a little too close in your presence immediately told homeboy where he stood. (And I know that secretly made you a little proud.)
10. I never have to wonder what I’d look like if I were a guy — the proof is standing right there in front of me.
11. My threshold for gross things was instantly raised just by living in the same house as you. Have a brother, and you have seen. it. all, my friend.
12. You were constantly there to remind me when I were being too ridiculous, because some things just don’t compute across gender lines — and this is a good thing.
13. Chances are good our mom babied you that much more — because even if you were a tough boy and could take care of yourself, maternal instinct still want to do your laundry and make sure you came home to get a decent meal — and such a watchful eye let me get away with murder sometimes.
14. You were a crash-course in why stealing a guy’s razor is always a better idea.
15. Whatever your orientation wound up being, I could make sure that you knew how to treat women with respect.
16. And I can rest a little easier knowing that there is at least one more decent human being out there who is living proof of what it takes to be a good man.