It may seem like I'm annoyed with you 24/7 but I promise I'm not. You need to know that being away at school while you're growing older is really hard for me. Watching you grow up has been one of my favorite things to do, though. Getting to Facetime you on the regular and the pictures I see of you makes me so jealous of everyone back home with you. Anyone that knows me knows how much you mean to me. Sometimes I complain because I have to take you along when I go somewhere but deep down, I love having you in my company. I couldn't tell you the number of times people have asked me if you're my kid (and sometimes I say, "Yes" just for the fun of it).
You've made me realize a lot of things and I don't think you'll ever fully understand that, but one day, when you're old enough to read this, I hope you see how important your toddler years were to me.
I think your most famous word is "why." That word, coming from you, has made me see more than you're aware of.
You sat in the bathroom with me while I put on makeup. You ask me why I'm putting makeup on and you tell me I look pretty without it. I could never really give you a straight answer. You made me see that makeup is such a big part of today's society. You also made me see that I don't need it as much as I thought I did.
You've heard me upset when I've gotten off the phone with somebody. You ask me why I stay friends with someone who makes me sad. You tell me I don't need someone who makes me sad and that I have you. That's stuck with me more than you could know. You've made me realize some friendships in my life aren't worth that trouble, especially if it's hurting me.
You've seen me get frustrated with life. You ask me why I'm getting mad with that. You tell me I can't change it. You were right. You taught me that I can't control some things so there is no point in getting upset with it.
I've seen you ask why whenever your brother comes up. I've also seen the brave face you've put on. You've been through so much and your life has barely even started. You're positive. You're strong. You're loving. You've got a big life ahead of you, and I'm so glad I get to be a part of it.
Most importantly, I've seen the way you treat your little sister. I see the way that you hug her when she's upset. I see the way that you go play with her toys and her when she is playing alone. I've seen the way you've been a big help when she was sick. I've seen you doing things for her when you clearly didn't want to. I've seen the way you've grown up to be a big brother to her, even though you're still little. You've taught me how important that family connection is. She's going to ask questions one day about her other older brother and I know you're going to be there for her when that day comes.
Thank you for making car trips more fun by dancing in your booster seat. Thank you for costing me just a little more money when you come to the grocery store because I can't help but buy you cupcakes. Thank you for waking me up from naps because you want to watch Netflix but can't set it up. Thank you for making me come sit outside with you while you play in the dirt. Thank you for keeping our secrets, like me giving you two chocolates instead of one (shhh, don't tell Nana). Thank you for teaching me so many life lessons that you didn't even know you were teaching me.