"You have a little brother." These were the first words I heard on April 3, 2005, bright and early in the morning. I remember the day you were born, the first time I saw you, and the first time I held you in my then scrawny arms. I was almost 9 years old at the time, and for most people, that is a long time to wait for a companion. Yeah, I had friends to spend time with, but there is nothing quite like having a friend whom you can love and hate at the same time, living under the same roof. And there is nothing quite like having a person that understands everything about the family without even having to be told—because they are a part of it.

As all younger siblings are somehow meant to do, there were countless times you drove me up a wall. But then there were the times when we laughed together so hard for no reason whatsoever; Mom and Dad wondered what was even wrong with us. As you started growing up, my affection for you grew as well. However, one thing I didn't even realize was that while you were growing up, I was too.

So here we are, I've done the whole "adult" thing and gone off to college. My first year has come and gone, and I'm living in my own apartment now. Every time I have gone to visit you, you seemed to grow a little more, your sentences sound just that much smarter. Before, you were growing right in front of my eyes. Now, you're growing when I'm not able to look.

So here's to you embracing your adolescent years with all the awkwardness and hilarity we all did. Middle school will hold memories you both laugh and cringe at later in life. High school will hold memories you both cherish and want to forget. Regardless, it's going to be one hell of a life. While it's all a part of life, I can't really apologize for not being there to witness all of it. However, I can be there for you to tell you the mistakes I made, the things I did right, what I enjoyed the most and, most importantly, that you should make the best of every bit of it.

So to the sibling whose childhood I am missing, I know you will grow to be an amazing person whether or not I'm there to see it. I know you will do great things (and get away with more things). I know you will make the most of this life.

Love,

Your sleep-deprived college student sibling

P.S. Don't you dare touch the things I leave behind.