As the third girl in my family, having a little brother was an adjustment that was odd to me at first.
My toys included Barbies and baby dolls. After my little brother was born, it was Thomas the Train Engine and building blocks. To be honest, playing by myself was far less fun than playing with my little brother though. I definitely assumed my role as big sister quickly, too. When we played school, I was the teacher. When we played house, I made the rules. When I forced him to wear makeup, I was suddenly a trained cosmetologist.
I have two older sisters who even it out well as they are just as close in age as me and my brother.
For this reason, my brother and I were always paired up together for basically anything — also known as "the little ones." I was born towards the very end of the '90s while my brother is a 2000s baby, meaning that we grew up in similar times when things were popular. We get each other. When we make jokes about something currently going on with one of the numerous musicians in the industry or mention something about social media, we understand. When we have a problem regarding our social lives, we're on each other's side. My sisters are two of the biggest influences in my life — I look up to them immensely and respect them incredibly. This is what I wanted to be for my little brother. While I can't necessarily talk about menstrual cycles, bras, or complain about the look of my body to him despite his best efforts to listen, I can guide him in his concerns based on my experiences.
My brother recently made the choice to attend the same college that I am currently at now.
Similar to high school, I will be a senior and he will be a freshman (I cannot wait!). I want him to enjoy each year of college just as much as I did, if not more. I want him to experience what it is like to finally make most of your own decisions and learn from mistakes. I can't wait to be his personal therapist from across the street when he needs help with the stresses that college brings. But most of all, I cannot wait to have a front row seat to see how much he is going to grow. That is another benefit to being a big sister to a little brother: you may not be able to relate to everything he thinks or does, but you can at least be proud of him knowing that he was your best friend first, something worth so much more.
To say that we never argue would be a lie because it is inevitable.
To say that I love him any less is a lie. There is a different kind of love that goes towards younger siblings as an older sibling. Now, imagine if your only younger sibling is also the only boy and has grown up as one of your best friends. Trying to find the balance between reading girls who are not good for him and being the chill older sister is something that I am working on, but I will never stop protecting him. Did I mention he is 18 years old? Yeah, that does not matter to me either. To me, he will always be the one that showed me that there ARE games to play that combined Thomas the Train Engine with Barbie and still continued to play with me through my bossy stage.
So, my advice? Squeeze your little brother a tad harder when he lets you hug him, keep him close especially when times get hard (he needs you more than he lets on), and know that your first best friend is your forever best friend. Mine just happens to be my little brother.