I pride myself on being the “imaginative” one (a kind way to say crazy) out of my brother and I. I have always been the one running off to do some new project, while he was content to live his life and hang out with his friends, work and then repeat. But not I, oh no, I was always chasing the next adventure. From wanting to be a dancer, to a teacher, and all the various dreams in-between, my brother was there.
He always met my new dreams and dramatic declarations with a pleasant eye roll and his unwavering patience. He never missed a performance, a game, or an awards ceremony. He is my quietest supporter, always offering a smile and a laugh when I am sad. I have lost count of the amount of times he has sat through various Harry Potter movie marathons, even though he does not love them as much as I do, just to appease me and keep me company.
I feel that the little brothers in the world don’t receive enough recognition for the amount of laughs, support, and love they give us older siblings. Relationships ebb and flow, and my brother and I have had some pretty epic battles, but in the end we have always been fortunate enough to have a strong bond. Our clashing personalities make it easy for us to get along without becoming tired of the other, because neither of us know what ridiculous situation is going to come next.
In lieu of these facts, I have decided to compile a list of how to appropriately handle having a younger brother:
1. Accept that they will not text you back, and when they do, it is brief.
Don’t be offended; they just don’t see the point of pouring their heart out over texts, or in person for that matter. Just know that even when they respond with “ok” and “see ya,” that those are the equivalents to “Love you, be safe.”
2. Understand that they need quiet time, even if you are a constant ball of energy.
Sometimes all my bro wants to do is play his PS4 and chill. And as much as I want to go into his room at update him about the new Disney movie, and how awesome it is, I realize that his quiet time is sacred. Just let your brother come to you, but don’t blare T. Swift when he does. Brothers scare easily, and they will run away from you and your insane dance moves.
3. Be kind.
This is a big one, and one that most sisters would assume they are fine with. But most of us are not. Oftentimes, we allow our frustrations to get the better of us, and who better to vent our anger on than our little brothers? They can take it, right? Just know, that although they may not show it, that it does hurt their feelings when you scream at them, especially unjustly, and it is unfair to assume they don’t have emotions. They care and they get hurt, even though they are not as flamboyant about it. So always be kind.
4. Show your appreciation.
Relationships are a two way street, so if they have a big event, show up. It will mean more to them than you know, and just because they don’t talk about it, doesn’t mean they didn’t notice your effort to be there for them. Take the time to care about your little sibling.
5. Be the instigator.
For the most part, they won’t. It isn’t that they don’t care; it is just that it isn’t in their hard wiring to notice that you haven’t talked in few weeks. When you’re older, and living away from your younger sibling, it is up to you to ensure the relationship remains strong. Just a text and a silly snap-chat a few times a week will keep the sibling bond strong.
6. Appreciate the little things.
When your brother sends you a text out of the blue, cherish it. When he calls to tell you that he saw a post on Facebook that reminded him of you, keep that close to your heart. This just shows that they do notice you, and they miss you when you are gone.
7. Acknowledge their maturity.
This is for any older sibling; it is tough to watch your little brother or sister grow up. But in the same way you are not the same person from five years ago, recognize that neither are they. They have matured, and so have you, and your relationship will be different. But that doesn’t mean better or worse. My brother and I are closer now than we were as young teenagers, and I feel I understand him much better now. Now my brother is over six feet tall and has a beard, but he will always be my little bro, just my slightly more adult little bro.
There you have it, and even when I go weeks without talking to my little bro, I can call him up and we will laugh and start talking as if a day hasn’t gone by. Us older siblings have a lot we can learn from our younger counterparts; their quiet contemplations, their continuous support, and their goofy personalities.
So here’s to all the little brother’s out there; may you always be recognized for your awesomeness.