My protector- that’s what you have always been and continue to be.
Oh brother, where do I begin? Do I reminisce at the very beginning? Should I start with the first time that you witnessed my big, blue eyes or fast forward to my initiation into the infamous "club". How about this, I'll begin at the moment that you broke your arm - when my five-year old self had thought I lost you forever. The man who would one day walk me down the aisle and hand me off to the man that would pass your scrutiny and background check. Scratch that, I'll begin at my first established memory given to me by mom and then flash forward.
The day of my birth, I started my life with a true surprise for the family. I mean could less be expected of me? All nine months of my development, I had everyone fouled. I played one of my greatest tricks on you without being brought fully into this world yet. Everyone had expected and was assuming another boy was being introduced into our growing family that cold and anxious day of March 18th. However, to your surprise, you were receiving a little blonde and blue eyed sister.
Despite the stigma regarding the birth of a daughter and sister, I did not follow the misconception. Primarily, I would place the weight of this concept on the fact that I had two older brothers, my birth-given protectors. Rather than becoming a distinguished individual in comparison to them, I merged to form their mini me. We did everything together and along with that, I learned everything from them. Needless to say, they were the most influential and important people in my adolescent life. Despite occupying my time, they gave me my name, picked out my outfits, and developed me into the playmate they had always wanted since the moment they laid eyes on me. In these instances, I became their equal and above all else, someone they would go to great lengths to protect.
As much as they were my guardian, I fought so hard to reciprocate that feeling to them. I was so grateful for them that I felt that I needed to pay my dues. Because of this, I fought anyone who wished them harm. Boys, remember our trip to Florida or the neighbor kid who lived just down the block who would call you a wimp or try to make you feel inferior? Well, there's a reason they changed their ways and treated you with respect. Your little sister secretly protected your well-being while you taught her the skills to do so.
Now fast forward a few years - we'll skip the entertaining moments of you convincing me to allow the placement of gel in my hair or the time you took my Barbie's toys, because the soldiers needed beds or supplies more than my Barbies. After all, the future of all toys was at stake if the soldiers did not have the accurate resources to protect them. You always knew how to maneuver my mind. You always understood my reactions and the ones that I tried to cover up. You knew the motivations of my younger self better than I did. Therefore, my heart jumped to conclusions and pain-painstakingly hurt the moment of your sixth-grade football season when you broke your arm.
Arriving on the field that day, I knew deep within that something was wrong. I couldn't put into words the feeling or explain it to another. We had a bond that only siblings could interpret. When mom and I stood along the sidelines, we searched for your familiar face only to be questioned by other parents asking why we weren't with you. Everyone tried to explain where you were, but to me all that mattered was that you weren't there. You were gone and I thought I had lost you forever.
On the way to the hospital, I shed more tears than the quantity of water in the water tower next to our childhood home. I kept asking myself who would protect me now. I was utterly alone and defenseless in this world. This feeling persisted until I caught your gaze behind the hospital door. With tear-soaked eyes, you told me that you were okay, but the cast on your wrist told me otherwise. I asked you who did it and vowed your revenge - only to learn that it's a normal concept in football to break a body part. From there, I prayed to God that I would break my arm or leg like you. I wanted to be just like you. You were kind, strong, and knew how to maneuver our parents.
Flash forward quite a bit of years and everything that we have survived. When you do so, you'll notice the subtle reflection of those younger kids and the bond that they shared. Although years have past and along with those years obstacles that attempted to break the bond, it's still apparent. Thankfully, you no longer convince me that placing gel in my hair is acceptable and necessary to joining the "club", but maybe that's the result of already paying my dues. However, you do convince me that other promises you made to me since birth are still obtainable. I know because of you that everything will be okay. That I have the strength to persist despite the obstacles placed before me. I know that I am worthy of the goals I fight for and that boys will come and go. You have taught me that it's okay to not be okay, but in those instants, that you'll be here within a few hours.
So here's to you, my protector and the man that will one day walk me down the aisle. Thank you for teaching me the skills that you have instilled in me and for accepting the surprise that is me. If I can promise you one thing in life, I will always have your back the way that you do mine.
Your little sister