I grew up with three brothers. We got along for the most part, but there was one brother in particular that I just couldn't seem to stand sometimes. And the feeling was mutual.
Maybe it was the small age gap between us and that we were the two in the middle. Whatever it was, we were constantly bickering. It ranged from who got control of the remote to who got to drive to school. Looking back, I feel bad for the rest of my family and some friends that had to deal with our immaturity.
Since I was a year older, I left for college before him and he stayed at home finishing up his high school years. We didn't really talk while I was away, and I was too caught up in my long distance relationship to pay attention to my family. He never reached out to me and I never reached out to him.
I do remember, however, coming home for my first break after being gone for over two months and seeing him for the first time. I just knew something had changed. Normally, his face would be a trigger for my annoyance but now it was a trigger for the homesickness I didn't know I had.
For the rest of my freshman year at college, we still didn't talk that much. I was away for the entire semester, not coming home for spring break, and besides the happy birthday text I sent him in March, we rarely communicated. The summer I came home, he started to prepare to head to university himself. We bonded over what to pack, what to buy, and how classes are.
When he left, it was actually sad! I was so surprised. He left a week before I did and I felt his absence more than I thought I would. And this whole year so far, we have talked more than I ever thought we would.
When he was going through a break with his girlfriend the first semester we talked on the phone forever and I sent encouraging text messages.
When he was stressed about academics or needed advice on anything girl or college related he FaceTimed or called me.
And now, going through my own breakup, he is constantly reminding me of my worth and how happy I will be on the other side of the pain.
Normally, when thinking about the phrase 'distance makes the heart fonder' I thought about me now ex-boyfriend. When really, quite the opposite happened and hear I am leaning on someone I never thought I would. And here he is asking me for advice about classes and life and college.
It is important not to forget your family when you go because you don't really know how important they are until they aren't just a five-foot walk down the hallway away.