Being the middle child, slapped between two boys, made for some interesting stories growing up. One is 10 years older and the other is four years younger. When my older brother still lived at home, there's not a day I can remember without some sort of teasing or just dropping by my room to fart and leave. I thought when he left for college that my troubles were over, and was I ever wrong. My little brother picked up right where he left off and the torture never ended. Even my little brother (who is 16 now) can put me in a headlock and keep me there for as long as he wants.
But there's not a thing I would trade about growing up with them (even though sometimes I wished my little brother had been a girl so I could do her hair, makeup, etc.). My brothers taught me to be tough. You start to realize you don't want to take sh*t from anyone, especially them, and it helps you stick up for yourself in other areas of life. If something is bothering me or I disagree with it, I'm not afraid to speak my opinion, and I'd like to thank my brothers for helping me with that. All those years of bickering have paid off.
They helped me become one of the boys. While I've had a ton of great girl friends over the years and still do, it's always been easier for me to make friends with guys. My brothers both play(ed) football, basketball and a few other sports. I'm not clueless when it comes to the rules of those games, and I enjoy throwing the football around with them or playing pig in the driveway. They've helped fuel my passion for sports and especially college football (Go Hawks!).
There are times I've wanted to kill them, like most siblings I'm sure do. Either the teasing got to be too much or my older brother tickled me to the point that it left bruises. They really don't know their own strength. Or I would do something to piss one of them off and then run for my dear life before they tackled me. Looking back, those were some of the best times I had with them.
At the end of the day, there's no better love than the love between siblings. I had my older brother to protect me and my younger one to look out for, and I'd go back and do it again in a heartbeat. Spending time with both of them together is rare now, and that's why I look forward to the holidays and us all being together. My older brother lives with his family in Ohio and my younger brother is still playing three sports in high school, and I couldn't be more proud of them.
Thank you for making me tough, strong-willed and sparking my passion for sports. I might not show it all the time, but I love you both more than you could imagine and someday I hope my kids are lucky enough to have the same bond we do. "Like branches on a tree, we grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one."