To My Not-So-Little, Little Brother,

You drive me absolutely nuts. You know how to push every single button of mine, and then the ones I didn't know I had. You get frustrated with me, and I with you. You make fun of me, call me names, and complain about my habits daily. We argue, we push each other around, and play jokes on one another more than most people. You yell at me for taking bites out of your avocado toast as soon as you finish making it, and snarl at me for not telling you that I went to our favorite Mexican place earlier that day. I hate how you always find sneaking into the bathroom while I'm showering to turn off the lights hilarious, and how you are impossible to wake up in the morning, no matter how hard mom and I try. I hate how you moon me every chance you get, breath in my face after you eat onions, steal my shampoo, and use all of the hot water before I have to shower—always when I'm in a rush, too.

But I also love how we laugh until we cry, how we finish each other's sentences and each other's food when the other can't. I love how we spend hours looking at pictures of dogs together, and then beg mom to let us get one (to no avail). I love how I once used you as an armrest, and how you now tower a solid four inches above me. I love how you don't like physical affection, but still show me you love me by patting me on the head, or putting your shirt over my face when I'm focused on something else. I love how we compete to see who can throw the most popcorn into the other's mouth at one in the morning instead of studying for tomorrow's math test, and how both of us can stay up later than anyone else we know. I love how you know immediately when something is wrong, and how you always quietly listen when I need to vent.

I cherish every moment you confide in me, ask for my advice, or want to talk about the latest family drama, and I love watching your annoyance with me when I say I'm going to come to college with you and be your roommate. I love how you can now give me piggy-back rides around the house when I'm too lazy to walk, and how you begrudgingly refill my water bottle six times a day. I beam with pride watching your kindness, gentleness, and compassion on display when speaking with others, and seeing the fire in your eyes when you're doing what you love most.

I think back to when we were younger when you couldn't pronounce my name and when I would have to teach you everything and smile at how smart you've become, kicking my butt in any theater-related "Jeopardy" category and sharing your endless knowledge of the latest memes with me. You never cease to impress me, kid, and if I don't tell you enough, I think you're pretty cool.

So overall, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for being my partner in crime; my best friend; the one to say "No," (but really mean "Yes") to my every request; the one who hugs me while I cry when someone breaks my heart; the one who joins me in my weirdness, loves our late-night adventures through Walmart, and is the best at finding fries at 1 a.m. For being the guy who can whistle any pitch of any tune, and shame me when I can't...at all; for upholding your title as the human encyclopedia of "Spongebob" quotes, and remembering every scene from our favorite movies, as well as every word that I said in an argument last year. Most importantly, though, thank you for being you, and for giving me the blessing of both a sibling and best friend in one. Even though you can't choose your family, I think I'd still pick you if I had the option. I love you.

Your Big Sister,

Ciara