I have a unique relationship with my brothers. People who are a couple years older than me, both in Netflix series and real life, are always saying that they only start to appreciate their younger siblings after moving away for a job or college. Me? I established an exceptional friendship with my brothers in middle school. They are three and seven years younger than me. This probably breaks world records, but we haven’t physically or verbally fought for at least the last ten years. Honestly, I don’t even remember the last time we had a genuine disagreement that aroused any feelings of true resentment towards one another. Sure, I've used a plethora of insults and childish names against them, but it's always complemented by a laugh of all chill and no hate. And the inside jokes are uncountable. Alien words and phrases only we understand, made-up games that only require your hands, weird comments about our parents' behavior, it would take forever to list them all.

Even though it may they may not want to openly acknowledge it, my younger siblings hold a special respect for me. They view me as both an older role model, and an immature peer. (Immature, because let's face it, there are those amazing jokes that you can only have with younger siblings mainly because, if you shared them with anyone else, they would quickly back away with embarrassment and you wouldn't have friends. Some of our best bonding moments occur while acting like five-year-olds at a restaurant.) And, though in slightly different ways, I also admire them with the same kind of respect. And this, the heart of the close nature of our relationship; underneath the surface of fart jokes and the strange obsessions for trashy music, is the reason we have authentic, mutual respect for one another. Around my brothers, I become uninhibited and feel free of judgment. And that feeling of acceptance and love for who I am in that moment overpowers the negativity of anyone who may be staring and criticizing us from afar, including our parents (sorry, mom).

And sure, you may still be scoffing at just the mere idea of having genuine respect for your younger siblings. Understandable. Maybe it's because your sister is in middle school and going through a hardcore Shawn Mendes fangirl phase, or your brother in elementary school is running around the house and shooting NERF bullets into your face. But ultimately, the key to developing such a beautiful, long-lasting relationship with your younger siblings is to respect them to the same degree that they respect you.