What Being A Sibling Of A Teen Parent Has Taught Me, Besides The Obvious

What Being A Sibling Of A Teen Parent Has Taught Me, Besides The Obvious

It has given me the opportunity to love more than I ever thought I could.
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I remember hearing of the show "The Secret Life of an American Teenager" on ABC Family. I thought how could people have a baby as teenagers? They are so young! They are still in school. I was amazed at the fact that it even happened.

I never thought it would ever affect me or my family. I was raised in a strong, Christian home, with protective parents. We had curfews and had to always update our parents on where we were and who we were with at all times. I never thought it could happen to someone I knew.

Then it did.

It was a shock, obviously. I couldn't believe it. I was just entering my freshman year of high school, and my older brother was just finishing up his freshman year in college. He was 19. NINETEEN. Like, what?

It was on the down low for a long time. Then, people started finding out. I heard people talking at school, and out in public places. It was never anything bad, well at least of what I heard. It was always the same.

"Wow. I just can't believe it. They ruined their college years."

Eventually, the talking went away, and then the preparation and readiness of welcoming their baby into the world came.

I learned a lot in that process of awaiting that baby and then caring for the baby when she finally was born.

Babies cost A LOT. Baby clothes, toys, accessories, food, diapers, and things I didn't even know existed were bought. How many clothes can one baby have, honestly? There was so much more to this whole baby thing than I thought.

You give up a lot. You shouldn't have a baby until you're ready, that is pretty obvious. My brother and his girlfriend at the time were both in college. They were beginning their lives out in the world and then they both gave up their spots in great colleges to take on the role of parenting their daughter.

You also gave up socializing. Instead of going out every weekend with friends, you were home, taking care of your child. The young years you thought you were going to spend going out and partying, are now filled with diapers and reruns of "Barney" and "Elmo."

Nothing can prepare you for how hard it actually is.

No matter how many people give you tips or try to prepare you for parenthood you will never know until you actually do it. There is an emotional roller coaster, lack of sleep, baby vomit, poop, pee and lots of tears, but there is also nothing greater than loving someone as much as you love your baby. And I see that in the way my brother and niece's mother care for and love her.

It adds stress to those around you. If you aren't prepared, you might still be living at home. That means other people other than you and your baby are living with you. My brother was living with his three siblings and mom and dad. I didn't realize the amount of stress it would cause all of us in the house.

We had places to go and things to do, but now we also had our brother and his child. We had to be careful of what we said and what we had on TV. We had to be quiet at night and during nap times. We had to help out in taking care of her.

But, it brings an amazing amount of love. I realize that the last few things I talked about were more negative, but being the sibling of a teen parent isn't a bad thing. Yeah, it has its up and downs, but it is so rewarding. I got to bond with my niece in a way that I won't ever with any other nieces or nephews I will have.

I got to take care of her when she was sick, and watch her after school when both her parents were working. My entire family and I got to bond with her and love her all the time and make sure she knew how much she was loved.

Being the sibling of a teen parent has truly shown me how love conquers all. Through all the ups and the downs this journey has brought my brother and our family, it has brought this beautiful little girl into our lives who lights up the room whenever she is around.

Being the sibling of a teen parent has given me the opportunity to love more than I ever thought I could.

Cover Image Credit: Caitlin Johnston

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Dear Dad, I Hope You Know

I hope you know that you are my best friend.
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Dear Dad,

I hope you know that I love your silly jokes, even when I say I don't.

Throughout my entire life, you have always managed to get on my last nerve with your countless jokes and teasing. However, now that I'm older, I realize you do it all out of love. So for that, I thank you. Thank you so much for always knowing how to make me smile or laugh, even on the worst of days, I know I can always count on you to have my back.

I hope you know that I'm so incredibly thankful for you and everything you do.

You always work your hardest to make sure you provide for our family and then, to top it all off, you're still there at the end of the day supporting us in all that we do. From sporting events to dance recitals and even to sorority banquets, you're always sitting in the front row cheering us on to reach our full potential.

I hope you know I'm so appreciative that you're the best mechanic around.

Because my car has been through the ringer too many times to count and you're always there to figure out what went wrong. Not only that, thank you so much for always changing my oil or replacing my brake light when it went out. I know I may not always act like it, but I'm so appreciative of all the little things you do for me.

I hope you know that I'm sorry.

When I was younger, I wasn't always the most pleasant daughter, and for that I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not listening to you when you told me to take out the trash or to clean the kitchen. I'm sorry for yelling at you, talking back to you, and being a big pain in the butt, but I'm so thankful that you still love me anyways regardless of how many times I screw up.

I hope you know that you inspire me.

Not only does your hard work and dedication to your work and your family inspire me, but your overwhelming sense of love and gratitude you have for everyone around you does as well. Even though you try and act tough, you're such a big teddy bear and all of your friends and family love you for that.

I hope you know that you are my best friend.

And for right now, the only man in my life that I need. I pray every single day that I can find half the man to marry that you are. Thank you for always being that example for my sisters and I to look up too.

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.

So I know I stole this line from my article to Mom, but I want you to know that it still applies to you and I mean it wholeheartedly. I don't mean to make you cry or anything -- and I'll laugh at you if you are, but I want you to know that when the time comes, I'm going to be there for you just like all of these years you've been here for me. I will be there to support you, talk with you, laugh with you, cry with you, and love you for all of my life.

Dad, I can't imagine my life without you. Thank you for being YOU.

I love you,

Your daughter.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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8 Things I Learned Growing Up Blessed With Brothers

Sometimes they can be OK, I guess.

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I was lucky enough that God graced me with siblings because for my entire life I have had two built-in playmates. However, instead of the sisters that I always dreamed of, He gave me two smelly boys.

When I was younger I always was jealous of my friends who had sisters. I used to beg my parents to adopt another child so I could have a sister. My brothers were competitive, they were stubborn, they liked to physically fight each other and me, but they've always been my best friends.

As I look back at my childhood, I realize that growing up with brothers has taught me a lot about life and I wouldn't change that for the world.

Competition.

Every day of my childhood was some type of competition between the three of us. Whether it was grades in school, sports, which TV show to watch, or who got to eat the last slice of pizza, it always seemed like there was something to be won.

Now, I can still feel that competitive spirit coming out of me. It drives me to be the best that I can be. It has really helped me when I play sports or during classes when I'm taking a test.

Patience.

My brothers always knew what to say or do to get me to blow up on them, which would always end up with me getting in trouble. My mom would always tell me to be patient and ignore my brothers when they were trying to annoy me.

At the time, it always made me angry that I was the one who had to ignore or be patient with them. However, that has taught me important people skills that I have carried with me into my adult life. I'm a much cooler tempered person and I can be much more rational when I'm angry as compared to other people I know.

Impulsiveness.

I can remember playing outside with my brothers and all the other neighborhood kids. We had a forest behind our houses that we could get to if we hopped the fence. I can remember my brothers thought it would be a great idea to throw rocks at ant hills and bee hives which always ended with someone getting bitten or stung.

The impulsive decisions my brothers made in their youth taught me how to think fast. Now, I'm good at thinking of solutions to problems quickly. I, also, tend to be much more flexible with impulsive trips to the store or off campus.

How to get away with anything.

Sneaky is one of the most prominent words that comes to my mind when I think of my brothers. They have always been able to get away with things. I can remember days when they would come into my room and explain to me the complex plan they created to sneak out or to play pranks on our parents. I never joined in on their escapades but they did show me a few tricks on how to get away with it if I ever did.

How to be a hard worker.

Both of my brothers are wrestlers and have been since they were young. In high school, my twin brother, Brendan, would be doing wrestling through winter and Thanksgiving break. This meant that's even if it's was Christmas or Thanksgiving, he would still mostly stick to his diet and decide to lay off the dessert. He also went to California for about a month over the summer to go to a wrestling camp so he could better his skills.

My younger brother, Jacob, started high school last year and did choir, the musical, and wrestling all at the same time.

Since I have watched my brothers excel in sports and work at my dad's restaurant, it has pushed me to become a harder worker with my school work and my athletics. I want to make them as proud of me as I am of them.

Self-defense.

My brothers have always been the protective type and we did martial arts in our youth, so all of us have some type of training in self-defense. With that being said, much of our practice for martial arts was on each other when we were upset. If two of us had a conflict, we would put on your sparing gear and battle it out. Through these fights, I have hyper extended my elbow, almost broke my nose, and have been beaten with a small, wooden, baseball bat. Of course, parents stopped it when it got too violent but it was always a way to fix our issues.

I'm glad that I had that experience when I was younger because now that I am on my own if someone approaches me in a violent way, I know how and where to throw a punch to make sure I can defend myself. Also, I know that my two strong, athletic brothers would always take someone down if they hurt me.

Sharing.

I was a very stubborn kid and to an extent I still am. However, having my brothers around taught me how to share. I used to never want to let my brothers play with my toys because I assumed that they would break them. I realized that if I wasn't going to share, my brothers would take my toys with force and would be more likely to break them out of anger. So, I began to let them use my things as long as they promised to give them back. When I began to let them use my things, they began to let me use their things.

I have found myself lending out many of my things out to my friends in college and they lend things to me. Sharing is a very important part of learning how to be an adult and I'm glad that I was able to learn how to share at a young age.

Love.

While I can count on my fingers the number of times my brothers have explicitly said, "I love you," to me, I know that they do love me.

When I going back home to Tacoma for the first time for Thanksgiving break, I was half asleep on the train when my phone starting buzzing. Lazily, I reached down and answered it without looking at the caller ID. It was my younger brother, Jacob. He was excitedly asking, "Hey, when are you gonna be home? Is it gonna be soon? Can we go out to lunch?"

He didn't have to explicitly say it but I knew that behind his words he was saying, "Hey, I missed you and I'm excited for you to be home."

My twin brother, Brendan, was my walking partner at my high school graduation. Right before we walked out in front of all our family and our friends and classmates' families, Brendan linked his pinky finger with mine. Having a physical reminder that I had someone on my side calmed my nerves immensely and I knew it was his way of saying that we were going to get through it together.

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