A colorful array of Lego blocks, toy trains, crayons, and balls of various sizes are strewn across the otherwise immaculate white carpet of our Massachusetts home. My ferocious and often drooling 3-year-old brother hurls as many toys as his sticky little hands can handle. And there I am, his 2-year-old sister, sitting at his feet shrieking in agitation. These were the earliest years of my relationship with my older brother, Mackey. He hated me. Truly. He was disgusted by my very existence and resented the day that his parents brought this wriggling intruder into his once serene life.
By the time we relocated back home to California, my mom was pregnant for the third time. At this point I was 4 years old and Mackey was 5, preparing to start kindergarten in the fall. We began to get along a little better, although I now realize we probably just learned to stay out of each other’s way. I spent every eyelash, shooting star, and birthday candle for the next nine months wishing for a baby sister. That was all I ever wanted -- a little baby sister I could share a room with, play dress up with, have tea parties, and share all the little things that only sisters can share. But on June 11th, sure enough, my mom gave birth to another healthy baby boy. I was crushed. I cried that day and refused to hold little Murphy, perhaps in a futile attempt to protect myself from the sad truth that would literally stare me in the face: I would never have a little sister.
Fast forward to current day. If any of the three of us were to recount tales of our shared childhood discord to our current friends they simply would not believe us. We’ve been told we are a very special and tight group of siblings, and I can’t say I disagree.
I am a strong believer that we are shaped by the relationships manifested early in our lives and can say with certainty my morals, personality, and many other parts of my persona would be drastically different had I not grown up with my two brothers. My role in the family as well as my role out in the world is to be the girl I am when I’m around my brothers. It is the most authentic me. And I’m not just saying this because they’re my brothers and they have to love me no matter what, I’m saying this because I truly feel I am my best self when I am with the two of them. They appreciate me, they love me, and they bring out everything in me that sometimes doesn’t come out when I’m with other people. I have so much love and respect for them and I like to think they feel the same way about me.
Today my brothers are some of my very best friends and I feel so lucky to have been raised alongside them. It’s hard to say when, but somewhere along the road we made the transition from siblings to friends. Maybe we got it out of our systems at a young age and all we needed was time. Or maybe, as I prefer to believe, our unique personalities ended up shaping around one another other, creating a perfect, harmonious, sibling relationship. I do owe much of the credit to my parents who deftly juggled our three very different personalities. They cleverly delivered customized praise based on what the individual child wanted to hear and allowed us to thrive as we walked down very dissimilar paths.
My brothers and I now laugh at how ridiculous we were as children, and how awful we were to each other. I can genuinely say I can’t remember the last time I fought with either one of them. We now share in each other’s joys and empathize with one another’s struggles and we all know how much we love one another.
Always take the time to thank and appreciate your siblings. You may not realize how they define such a large part of your identity.