It's the season to give thanks, and many are doing just that. I am thankful for the life that I lead, for the opportunities that have been presented to me, and for my friends and family. More specifically, something that I say much, much less, I am thankful for my brother that is growing up way too fast.
I remember when I heard you were coming into my life. I got mad that my computer room was to become your bedroom. I wanted a sister.
I remember when you were born; I was upset that your birthday would have been mine, had you not decided to come out two days early.
I remember when you were 18 months old and refused to stay in bed. You would try to come out of your room, so often that mom and dad set up a baby gate in your doorway, you climbed that. To fix this problem, they stacked a second baby gat in the doorway, leaving nothing but a one foot gap at the top. This worked until one night you climbed both gates and got our attention by screaming. When we found you, you were stuck in that one foot gap at the top of the doorway, on top of two baby gates.
I remember when you were 4 years old and you cracked my head open with a lamp. I had a friend over and I wouldn't let you play with us. We started to fight and later that night I got staples put in my head.
I remember your first day of kindergarten, you were 5 years old. You were so excited. I was not. We got into a disagreement on who got to stand on the gravel pile and I tried to tell how bad school would be and how much you would hate it. I was wrong, you work hard (most of the time) and your teachers have always loved you.
I remember when you were 9 years old; you joined a drum club at school. The week of the Christmas concert your teacher told you and your friends not to show up because she didn't think you guys were good enough. We came anyway and you got to perform, but you were terrified. That still infuriates me.
I remember when you were 11 years old, finally a middle schooler who got to ride the big kid bus. I remember your first Christmas band concert playing the trombone. You were so proud, I loved it.
I remember when you were 12 years old. I was going through my first heartbreak. After I'd spent hours lying in bed in the dark with one of the worst headaches of my life caused by tears, you came creeping in and asked me if I was okay. You asked if I needed anything, you brought me water. Thank you.
Now, you are 13 years old, a bona fide teenager. I remember two weekends ago, you wanted to show me your latest Fortnite clip compilation that you were putting together for your YouTube channel. You always like showing me your edits and you insist on keeping me updated on what's new in the item shop so that I don't miss anything good. I don't enjoy playing Fortnite that often, but I appreciate that you think about me.
We had a rocky beginning. We never got along. We always fought. I remember being genuinely afraid that one day I would have children who wouldn't know anything about their Uncle Ethan because we couldn't be in the same room without a disagreement. Now I understand that we were very different to begin with, and the age difference didn't help. I have learned to pick up on the small things you do that show me that you care, because you aren't the person who will come right out and say it very often.
I remember when I moved into college, I didn't expect our relationship to grow. I was surprised when during the second week of classes; you called me to tell me about your day. Even though you tell our parents in thoughts that I don't know, I know you miss me. I miss you too.
We had a rocky beginning. I'd even say we had a rocky middle. But we will not have a rocky ending. You are my little brother and I wouldn't change you for anyone else. We will not always see eye to eye, but we will get through it. Just do me a favor and stop growing up so fast. You'll be in high school next year and then pretty soon after that you'll be going to college yourself and when it gets to that point, neither I nor our parents will know what to do.
I am thankful for you, and I am proud of you.
Your big sister.