I wrote this shortly after my brother’s wedding in April of 2014. I thought I’d share it here. Today is his three year anniversary.
I am big sister to a brother, and sister, we’re each two years apart, so the maximum distance between the oldest and youngest in our family is 4.5 years. Some people might view this as eons, or centuries, and at certain ages I definitely feel that is true. I am also blessed to have a sister who has actively acted much older than her age, and sometimes when she says things I disagree with, I have to remind myself of her age, and allow her the room to say those kinds of things.
My sister and I both have BIG personalities, I am particularly boisterous and loud, I don’t mind my niche in my family, which is center of attention most of the time, I generally am the moderator of conversation at dinner tables, I want to know what’s going on in everyone’s lives, I am nosy, and opinionated, and love a challenge, I laugh loudly, I love with all my heart, and I cry at sports movies. You get the idea. My sister is also a big personality and doesn’t mind being center show, but is not as opinionated or up for a challenge as I am. She’s got that “people pleasing” gene – My mom has it too, it somehow skipped me entirely, and I am constantly working on being okay with that. The relationship my sister and I have is great, we are best friends, confidants, we share secrets, opinions, roll our eyes over things my parents say, or my brother says. We share a lot of the same views on society, life, and what we want out of it. We have obscenely similar tastes in clothes, sometimes…ehem…TOO MUCH SO. Our friendship is easy, and its fun most of the time. We do have to work on some things – like I work on not reacting loudly or aggressively to things Kelly says, and she works on telling me HONESTLY her thoughts and opinions on things. I do my best not to judge abrasively and only when she asks me my opinion. We are ALWAYS working on that…ALWAYS.
My brother on the other hand doesn’t have a loud personality like I do. He is patient, and thorough in his approach, mostly of quiet demeanor, he’s funny as hell, and can quote pretty much any movie you’ve ever heard of. He is excellent at charades, and shares the same competitive spirit Kelly and I do – this is a gene we all inherited from my father. My brother can tell you any stat, about any sport, ever. He is thoughtful, and a hopeless romantic, he cares deeply without telling you, and often times is a quiet observer, of my sister and I spouting off about our latest idea/opinion/news article. My brother is very smart, and calculated, and his patience makes it easy for him to commit entirely to a strategy and see it through – this is especially annoying as my attention span is limited and must be fed constantly and quickly, he frequently beats me at games of long drawn out strategy, see; chess, risk, monopoly etc…
Being a big sister to these two wonderful souls for me, has always been a true honor, and a job that I take very seriously. The thing about being a big sister is that you are their protector,their confidant, the buffer, they can count on you- without ramifications and know that you’ll help them in a jam, This means that sometimes, someone will push your brother off the snow pile when he’s too little to defend himself, and that you, as a big sister, will take it upon yourself to tackle that kid onto the same snow pile, and beat his face until he’s crying and blood is running out of his nose. It means that you will walk your brother, and his bike back to your parents house after he falls off of his bike and you’re sure you saw the bone popping through his knee – but you don’t tell him that. It means that you have two tag-a-longs to whatever you’re doing, and wherever you want to go. It means that sometime in college, your brother will get himself too drunk, and call you the next day to ask for advice on how not to let that happen again. It means that sometimes, your brother won’t know which lasagna noodles are the right ones to buy, and will call you while he stands in front of them at wegmans. It means that your sister will call you after her boyfriend breaks up with her two days before her eighteenth birthday, and you will abandon whatever you are doing to listen to her, and to tell her it is going to be okay.Sometimes you will have to tell your sister that you know the girl that she is hanging out with is going to stab her in the back, or help her pick up the pieces when her best friend really lets her down. It means that you’ll spend hours sitting on the swing at your parents house, telling your sister how great you think she is, and how she is a fiercely independent girl who doesn’t really need a best friend. It means that when you hear that someone has been mean to your sibling,you share equally in their hurt, and their tears. It means sometimes, letting your siblings fight their own battles with you as back up. Sometimes it means giving a different view point, or translating what your parents just said, sometimes it means being a sounding board, and just listening.
My little-big brother committed his life to his new wife this past Saturday. They have been dating for seven years, and I have no doubt that Kim loves my brother, I will admit, that it was a particularly hard wedding for me. There is a thing about when your brother gets married that is inevitably different than when your sister gets married. I know there is some saying like this for parents – something like – “have a daughter, you’ll have a daughter for life, have a son, have a son til he gets him a wife” It is hard to say good bye, and as I stood their shaking in my 4.5 inch heels watching him voluntarily committing himself to a new family, I grieved my brother, but I know that he loves Kim, and I know that Kim loves him. I know that their marriage is a good thing, and however hard it may be, we must let him go. I think it is our closeness in age that makes these kinds of things so hard. Its like one of your bestfriends went out and found a new best friend, and really, no one likes feeling replaced. While it was a hard day for me it was also an easy day, I know that my brother’s new wife loves him very much, and will happily love him til the end of their days. I know that he will still be just a phone call away, and that if we really needed him he will still be there. I watched him look into her eyes, the hopeless romantic that he is, and with his whole heart on Saturday tell her she was his best friend. I couldn’t help but think of my own husband, standing their on the other side of the aisle, making the same commitment to me, and remember how exciting it felt to find the other person in this world who wholly understands me. It was at this moment that a great feeling of peace came over me, and allowed me to open my heart right up to be thrilled for my brother that he found the same thing. He found the person who wholly understands him, suddenly I was brimming over with glee that he has a best friend who is as committed to him and he is to her. This Saturday, I watched my brother marry his best friend, and it was beautiful, and wonderful. Sometimes being a big sister means that you have to let go, and trust that your little brother is making the best decision for him, and instead of judge it, celebrate in it, and sing “don’t stop believin'” at the top of your lungs, for the last dance embraced in your brother and sister’s arms, and know, in that moment, that everything is going to be better than okay, that everything, is going to be great.