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.