Goodbye Little Brother

An Ode To My Little Brother As He Leaves Our Family

Our last year as a family, little brother.

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This is an ode to you, little brother.

Throughout my life, I have watched you grow from an inquisitive child, curious about the wondrous nature of the world around you into a conscientious young man brimming with potential, ready to take on all the challenges that will come across your path with the confidence necessary to emerge triumphant, resplendent in glory that will put all that I've done to shame.

How quickly it seems that the time has flown, from when we were just kids running about in our old home in Manhasset Hills. From making new friends together to going to theme parks like Six Flags with all of our cousins, you and I spent more time together than one might expect of siblings with a five year age gap in between. The days that we spent exploring our neighborhood and playing basketball together are long gone now, etched deep into our memories as hazy recollections of a lifetime ago, but the warmth that I feel recalling the strength of our bond never ceases to remind me of how far we've come.

I can't say when exactly our personalities began to emerge, but I remember how our mannerisms began to diverge as we grew older, particularly once you passed through middle school and I began my first year at Stony Brook University. At first, I felt confused at how different we seemed to be; I was still the loud (sometimes obnoxious), hyperactive wild-child that seemed to have no end to a conversation, while you were the one who could go hours without uttering a word.

I failed to realize the subtleties of your awareness at that time; despite your timidity, you were aware of every situation occurring around you all at once, foreshadowing a level of cognizance that not even our parents possessed. Despite all of our clashes as a result of our contrasting dispositions, it seems that we incorporated different aspects of each other's personas throughout our formative years—I learned from you the value of silence and the art of listening, and you grew surer of yourself and your own confidence with each passing year.

Now you're just one year away from graduating high school and I'm only one year away from finishing my MBA, and mom and dad have me taking you around to different colleges to help you decide where you will choose to make your mark for years to come. Our tours to Cornell and Princeton have opened our eyes to the depths of your abilities, and what you could potentially accomplish given the right educational environment, surrounded by peers who are just as quick-witted as you are.

I know that the moment is far off right now, yet I cannot help but feel a sense of impending sadness upon your departure, and my own, from the home that we've shared together for the past 17 years. This will be our last year together as a family.

I am so proud of you and how far you have come. Fly high above the clouds, little brother, and may your wings carry you beyond your wildest imagination to the fulfillment of your dreams.

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Sister About To Move Away, Girl, You've Got This

You may not physically be here right now, but you're always with our family.

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You were there on the day I was born, somehow sleeping soundly as our mom gave birth to me. I'll never forget the photograph of her presenting me to the world and you sitting beside her, holding up your newly-purchased beanie baby with pride as if being handed this toy was equal to the miracle of birth.

It was a crab, by the way, which somehow makes it funnier.

Growing up, you loved to trick me. You'd make me do chores for you and steal my favorite Barbies, but I think that's just part of being an older sister. I'd stick my tongue out at you and cry out the same phrase, "Mooooom, Sissy is being mean to me!" In fact, I yelled this phrase so often that it began to take on a musical quality.

You were mean at times, but you always had my back. You physically beat up other children that had wronged me, and you let me crawl into your bed so we could watch TV together and exchange stories. We'd often immerse ourselves in fantasy worlds where we were princesses and we rode unicorns side-by-side.

But we grew up, and our fantasy world evaporated like the muddy puddles we'd play in after stormy nights. One second it was there, and then, it was just gone. I remember having a conversation a few years back where we wondered if we had known the last time we played Barbies would, in fact, be our last.

When I was a seventh grader, you were a junior in high school. Our problems were very different back then, but that didn't stop us from talking endlessly about them. We were so similar. We bonded over cheerleading, cute boys, books and music. But even more than that, we bonded over our similar life views and questions about the universe. We both possessed an innate love for life yet we were both distrustful of society's guidelines.

Watching you enter new life phases enthralled me. I thought, Wow, that will be me someday. I danced around the house in each of your four prom dresses, my imagination taking me to a place much grander than a high school gymnasium. Through your stories, I romanticized the future and hoped that I would be as cool as you.

It was a little tough at times, though, always longing for a different part of life. When I entered junior high, all I wanted was to be in high school. When I entered high school, I decided college was much cooler because that's what you said. And you were certainly right about that one.

You were the only one I felt comfortable sharing my writing with, the only one I knew could read the meaning behind my sideways glances. We just got each other in every way.

And we still do. To this day, you are one of the people I love and trust most. I don't know what I am going to do without you by my side, as you've been right there for 20 years. But I'm so proud of you. Of the many things we would lay around and talk about throughout the years, one topic persisted: moving away. Moving used to be a pipe dream, something beautiful that lived in your mind but would never come to pass.

And then you took a chance. And now that dream is a reality.

I want you to know how much I admire you. You are so incredible and resilient. I've never met anyone so strong-minded and willing to fight for what she believes in. You would never compromise yourself or your values for another person, but you are generous with others and so kind-hearted.

You are curious about the world and have a desire to learn about life and the richness it has to offer. That is a special quality that cannot be learned. You are beautiful in every way and are truly a blessing to have as a sister.

And it is from these very qualities and so many others that I know you will do great on your own. Sure, it's super tough at first; nobody said it would be easy. But if anyone can do it, then that person is certainly you.

I will always cherish our moments together, and you can always count on me to be there on the sidelines cheering you on, no matter where your adventure takes you.

Much love,

Your Little Sis

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