One of the most difficult things about leaving for college was moving away from my brother. The summer before my freshman year, we could both drive and were always out doing things with our friends, but we somehow managed to spend more time with each other than I could keep up with. We'd have movie nights together and go out to eat and just sit on our favorite white leather couch with our dogs and talk about anything and everything.
Since I've been away, I've compiled this list of all of the things I hope he remembers while I'm off at school and not around to remind him.
1. I am so so proud of you
I know junior year isn't easy. I know that divorce isn't easy. I know trying to balance every aspect of your life is hard, but you somehow make it look absolutely flawless. I am so proud of all your accomplishments, big and small, and I cannot wait to see what you do in the future.
2. You do not need to have every little thing figured out
Just because I've known what I wanted to do for a while does not mean that you need to. You have so much time to think about your future, but I don't want you to get so caught up thinking about it that you forget to enjoy right now. It's also OK to be vulnerable. Don't let anyone tell you that it isn't.
3. Work for it
I know you've got goals and dreams and aspirations. I love that. But you need to work for them to make them happen. Also, don't forget I'm here to support you along the way. You gained a lifelong cheerleader the day that you were born, dude.
4. I will always be here for you, no matter what
Nothing you can do will change the fact that you are my brother and I love you.
5. Hug Mom and Dad and the dogs for me
6. Your thoughts and ideas matter to the world
The high school you go to is massive. I know because I went there. A lot of the time, it's hard not to get caught up in it all. Remember that you have something that no one else can bring to the table: your ideas, thoughts, aspirations, projects, goals, etc. And all of those are very important.
7. You can call me whenever you want
You find a funny meme at 1 a.m., send it. You want to chat after school gets out at 4, call. You want to destroy me in 8-Ball via text message, let's play. I will always have time for you.
8. I don't have all the answers, but I'm an open book if you have questions
I'd like to think that we're pretty honest with each other about most things. You know more about me than a lot of people, and vice versa. Ask me anything.
9. I really do appreciate all of the little things you do
When you recommend a show on Netflix because you think I'd like it, or when you get me a snack when you're in the kitchen, or when you offer to drive me places, or walk the dogs with me... I notice and I can't thank you enough for all of the little things that you do.
10. Most importantly, I love you
Mom used to tell us that we would be best friends someday. As a kid, I never fully got that. Throughout the years, though, as we've both been through some things and experienced more of the world, I started to see just how right she was. When something good happens, you're the first person I want to tell. You are the coolest dude I know and I cannot imagine my life without you, even if I was born 19 months before you. I love you so much and I hope you know that.
Don't think that this little message means I'm going to stop making fun of you. I definitely won't. Just know, it's all out of love. Someone has to keep you in line. Just kidding. But seriously. You're my best friend. Thank you, kid.