An Open Letter To To My First Best Friend—My Big Brother

Thank You To The Best Big Brother, My First Best Friend And Biggest Fan

Because I can't get your face tattooed on the bottom of my foot.

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An open letter to my older brother, who has taught me lessons about life, family, and relationships. Through this heartfelt letter, we are all reminded that the people we are brought into the world with are the ones we should always fight for. Isaiah, our relationship may not be the perfect example of what sibling-ship should be, but it means the world to me.

Jasmine Rainey

Isaiah,

I believe the first memory I have of you is when you dropped me on my nose at daycare when you picked me up by my shirt while you were on roller blades. As traumatic as that may have been it taught me my first lesson — do not trust anyone on any form of wheel. Seriously though, from the minute I was born you have done nothing but support and look after me.

When I was in the fifth grade and being bullied you did not hesitate to step in and protect me. Going even farther back, when I was just baby you made sure I had every single opportunity that you had, and when we were in the pool together you were always there to make sure I was safe. It took me seventeen years to realize how much of an amazing brother you have been.

Jasmine Rainey

I vividly remember the Christmas eves when you would come and stay awake with me until morning. All the times we took on the neighborhood bullies and all the times you would take me out for ice cream. I've told you this before but you are objectively the family member I love the most, we have struggled through the same things yet you have persevered so gracefully.

Isaiah, you have taught me so much, how to address my problems, how to handle mom and dad, and how to keep a strong relationship. You are my best friend, and I am so happy that I have finally realized that.

Jasmine Rainey

No matter where you go or how far away we drift apart, you will always be my best friend. I know you will only ever be a call away and I hope you know I will be the same. I am no longer afraid of growing up because I see how responsible and successful you have become, and if you ever forget that I will be here to remind you.

If there is one thing I want you to know above everything else is that I love you and we will not make the mistakes of those before us. One day, everything we struggle with will be behind us and we will be living the lives we've dreamed about for years. I love you, Isaiah.

With Love,

Your sister, Jasmine

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When You Give A Girl A Brother

"No, you cannot exchange him for a baby sister"
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When you give a girl a brother, at first she'll probably cry and ask her parents to exchange him for a baby sister.

When she learns that this is not possible, she'll cave and take him under her wing.

She'll coach him from crawling, to walking to sprinting in no time.

Then she'll teach him the best places to hide for a thrilling game of hide and seek, stuffing him under beds and shutting him in toy boxes.

She'll share her creepiest stories, illuminated by the flickering of her Barbie flashlight in a tent for two in the living room floor.

She'll squeal in delight as she chases him through backyard sprinklers, daring him to run through the freezing water in the summer heat.

She'll taunt him as the two stand back to back, insisting that she must be "1,000" inches taller than him, because bigger sisters are just that: bigger.

She'll tattle when he pulls her by her hair from the couch or takes her favorite toy, sure that Mom will bring justice to the cruel, cruel rein of younger brothers.

She'll teach him all about school, helping him pick his first backpack and suggesting the best color pencils.

She'll find herself defending him against the school bus bullies with her fiery personality, (even though he insists that he can handle it and it's sooooo embarrassing when his sister is threatening to beat up boys for him)

She'll spend her afternoons insisting that her homework is much, much harder than his "baby" spelling words, because she's learning her multiplication facts.

Over time she won't seem to notice that their backyard adventures have been replaced with "No Boys Allowed" or "No Girls Allowed" signs on their bedroom doors.

She'll soon be annoyed when her mom insists that she has to bring her little brother to the high school basketball game.

She'll call her friends insisting that her middle school brother is so obnoxious with his high pitched voice and his sad attempt to grow armpit hair.

She'll complain and call him disgusting when he doesn't flush or a brat takes too long in the bathroom in the mornings.

She'll bribe him with fast food so that he doesn't tell mom that he heard her on the phone all night with some boy past curfew.

She'll still insist that her algebra homework is so much harder than his freshman English class (because that's so ninth grade).

She'll tell him to go away as she cries alone in her room, because she doesn't have a date for Homecoming. But he'll wait patiently outside the door with the dress shirt and pants that he bought to be her escort in her time of need.

Time will pass, and she'll begin to see that the little brother who she once towered over, the one she saw walk for the first time, the baby who she was sure she wanted to trade, has been replaced with a man.

A man now towers nearly a foot above her head, voice booming with maturity, and driving his own car to high school basketball games.

A man who helps her move into her college dorm, trying to hit on her roommates, and later coaching her through her math homework via text messages from home.

A man who asks her for advice for his first dates, asking if his cologne is too strong or if his shoes match his outfits.

A man who defends her when the two of them are out and about, and some guy just won't leave her alone.

A man who now gives her advice about her life choices, with full honesty and wisdom beyond his own age.

A man who inspires her, teaches her, and challenges her.

Because even when she's no longer "1,000" feet taller, or he's too big to fit in the toy box anymore, when you give a girl her brother you've given her a best friend for life. A teacher, a protector, her savior, and her biggest pain. But regardless what time brings: the changes, the heartache, the success; he will always be there. When you give a girl a brother, you've given her the one of the most important men of her life... and although she may know know it at first, one day she will thank you.

Cover Image Credit: Carolina Heart Photography

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When You Are The Youngest Of 6 Kids

Having five older siblings is the greatest blessing I could have ever asked for. I get best friends for life.

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I am probably one of the luckiest people on the planet because I have so many brothers and sisters. I have three brothers and two sisters. I'm the youngest of the six, so I have had a pretty interesting experience growing up with a big family.

My oldest brother is ten years older than me. All of my siblings were born in the 90s and I wasn't, but I wanted to fit in with them. I had to make sure I watched the same TV shows and movies that they did so I could relate to them. I tried to play the same games that they played, such as SEGA and Nintendo. I was not very good at any of them, but I was just happy to be with my siblings.

Going to school was always interesting because I always had a teacher that one or more of my siblings already had. Every year in school from 1st grade to 12th grade, I always heard, "Oh, I had a few of your siblings." Then, for the rest of the year, my teachers would slip up every once in a while and call me one of my sisters' names. I understood, though, because all of us look alike, so I would just go along with it and act like that was my name.

With my sisters, the three of us look like triplets, even though we are years apart. I get called Jess or Jen a lot by my parents. By process of elimination, they eventually figure out my name. I'm used to it as I respond to anyone who calls me by one of my sister's names.

Being the youngest, I get to see all my brothers and sisters accomplish many things. I watch what they do and learn from it. The problem for me has always been that all of my siblings are brilliant. I have always had to live up to the standards that my siblings set. It hasn't always been easy.

It can be frustrating because anyone that knows my brothers and sisters will automatically compare me to them in terms of intelligence. For example, I took AP Statistics in high school. I knew my teacher had a few of my siblings who were very bright and did well in that class. My teacher probably thought I was an idiot because I struggled in that class.

I have to try and prove to people that I am my own person and that I am just related to really smart people.

I never needed to worry about friends at school because, at the end of the day, I always had my five best friends at home. When we were all younger, we had our own sleepovers and parties, and we played games all the time.

Whenever I needed help with homework, I had my own free tutors at home who were willing to help me understand algebra and biology. Even in college, I still go to them when I need help with an assignment.

They took care of me when I was younger whenever my parents were working. I had my other five parents who were ready to take care of me. They still take care of me today.

Now that I am an adult, I have had to start doing things for myself. It's kind of weird.

I always had everyone else do everything for me or with me. If I needed to go somewhere, they were my chauffeurs. If we went out to eat somewhere, they paid, but now I can drive myself around and pay for things with my own money.

At the end of the day, I have five best friends for life. For me, that is all I need.

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