To My Brother, On His Birthday

To My Brother, On His Birthday

You are my sunshine.
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To my brother, on his twelfth birthday:

I can't believe it's finally here; the first birthday I don't get to celebrate with you.

I'm so proud of the young man you've grown up to be. You've grown so much within the last year alone that it's almost heartbreaking. It seems like just yesterday I wore the pink "I'm the big sister!" shirt while holding you for the first time. Back then, of course, you were nothing but trouble to me. Now, however, that couldn't be farther from the truth.

Age really is just a number, as we are near seven years apart, and closer than two peas in a pod. You're my best friend - the one who makes me a better me.

It's been more than a gift to watch you grow. To watch the marks on the wall grow higher each year as you get taller, to watch the clothes you once wore as a five year old be tossed to Goodwill, to watch the pictures you create get more detailed and precise as the scribbly ones go into the cedar chest.

This year has been hard not seeing you each day. To hear you waltz in through the door after school, to hear your very loud music and video games while I'm trying to nap, to listening to you run down the stairs before bed to tell me you love me while hugging me goodnight.

My favorite thing about you is that you don't have a care in the world of who sees you love your older sisters. You have a heart of gold, little brother. You are truly the world's greatest.

You're a fantastic kid - with so much potential. I hope you never forget that you are only as good as you let yourself be. Life is tough, really tough sometimes, but nothing worth having is easy so never quit fighting for the best life.

We share so many passions from spending days out at the soccer pitch to googling pictures of kittens to make each other smile. My favorite soccer player in the whole wide world is you, which is saying something because you know how much I love Carli Lloyd. There's no one I'd rather watch kick ass on a Saturday afternoon than you.

Here are twelve pieces of brutal advice for you, on your twelfth birthday:

1. It's easy to take many parts of life for granted

However, try your hardest not to. Even though school isn't your favorite, you are blessed to be able to receive the education you do. You have a family who absolutely adores you and supports you in everything you do, even if we don't always agree. You have the ability to create amazing art, know everything there is to know about basketball, and the ability to play sports. You are blessed, and don't you forget it. Thank the ones who make this life possible and love them fiercely.

2. It's OK to not be OK

You've been through some tough situations in your short time here. It's OK to sit back once and awhile and feel sorry for yourself. It's OK to miss the old life we had and it's OK to be happy about the life we have now. It's OK to feel sad, but what's not OK is taking it out on others - learn to use words, kind words, and talk about what's bothering you. The sooner you learn to do this, the better off you'll be.

3. Work harder than those around you

Everything you'll ever receive in life comes from working hard. To have it better than those around you, you need to work twice as hard. I promise you you will never regret it. Get those A's, run that last sprint faster than the others, stand up to those who make you feel useless, because you are far from it. When the time comes, get a job you love. It makes working so much more inviting and easy.

4. Not everyone will like you, and that's OK

What's not OK is allowing them to make you feel miserable. You are better than the ones who don't try hard enough to like you, which is hardly trying very hard, because you're the greatest kid I know - and I promise I don't say that just because I'm your older sister. You don't need anyone who doesn't need you.

5. Respect yourself, always

Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything and anyone who doesn't make your life better. Do not settle. You deserve the best and don't stop until you get it. You're only twelve, but I promise that the way you treat yourself now will follow you throughout your whole life. Be kind to yourself because there is so much to love about you.

6. Everything changes, nothing is permanent

Friends come and go. Respect yourself enough to know when someone is a bad influence and when someone is good for you. Surround yourself with the ones who are sad for your sadness and happy for your happiness. Friendships are important but don't feel as if you need to hold on to the ones who aren't benefiting you. Middle school is hard enough without worrying about who to dedicate your time to, but I promise that finding the good ones now will mean everything later on.

7. Love with all you have

Everyone loves a guy who doesn't care what individuals think. Love your cats like it's all you have. Love our mom like she deserves. Love who you are and never look back. If you love something, chase after it. Never let it go. If you let it go, you'll spend the rest of time wishing you had loved harder. Love like there's no tomorrow and I promise you life will be grand.

8. Don't ever forget to have fun

In my eyes, you're still a kid. You'll always be my baby brother, the one I played Cars for hours and chased fireflies at night with. Never stop having fun. Life is all about fun. But with that, you need to make sure it is safe fun. That means knowing when to quit before trouble begins, knowing to say no to the activities you don't feel comfortable being part of, and watching what you say. Even when you're older and begin to go on dates, choose the most fun one like mini golf or a water balloon fight - don't settle for the boring, cliche dates.

9. Give back

Give Mom extra hugs. Give Dad more of your time. Pay attention to the ones you give you what you need and never stop thanking them. You are more than blessed to have the individuals in your life that you do, so never stop giving back. When someone gives you a gift, you give one back. When someone supports a decision you make, do the same with them. When someone is there for you, you need to return the favor.

10. Always be a gentleman

I'll tell you this right now - if I ever find out you're less than an absolute gentleman to your future partner, you will be in loads of trouble. Growing up with three females in the house, you should know what to say and what not to. Hold the door open, always speak kind words, always be easy to talk to, and make them feel comfortable. This society you've grown up in hasn't been a very good example so never forget that "old fashioned" is always in. Kind, faithful relationships. Date to marry - do not date for a 'good time'.

11. Do not give into peer pressure

No one can force you to do anything. I trust that you will grow up to be like your older sisters, who avoid trouble and hang on to the good ones in life. If you do not want to do something, call someone. Even in middle school, do not do things you know will get you into trouble. You're better than that and I know you will always do the right thing. And in the future, if you don't end up doing the right thing, never be afraid to call, even if you believe you'll be in trouble.

12. I will always be here

I don't need to even tell you this, but it's always good to have a reminder. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I don't know a better, smarter, more reliable kid than you. The experiences you've had throughout these last 12 years have shaped you into the best young man and brother a girl could ask for. Please never forget that you are not 'too cool' for your older sister. I will always be here for you - don't ever doubt that.

You mean the world to me, little one.

Thank you for all the lessons you've taught me throughout these last twelve years. You'll never know how much I love you.

You are my sunshine.

Happy Birthday, Ty!


Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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To The Girl Who Always Feels Left Out

Maybe next time...
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To the girl who always feels left out,

Girl, let me just tell you, I know the feeling. It feels as though my whole life, I have been that girl. You know that feeling when you are standing in a group of people and someone comes up and asks everyone to go to lunch in that group... But you?

Or they make it even worse by saying "Oh, I guess you can come too." You guess I can come to?

No, thank you.

At that point, you feel like the only reason you are being invited is that they feel like they have to. Which more than likely is actually the case. What about when you ask your friend to hang out and she can't because she will be doing homework all night? However, an hour later, you see her with your other best friend. Oh okay cool, sorry for bothering you with my friendship.

You know you are the girl who is always left out when you are the designated "photographer" or you have to specifically ask if you can take a picture with them because they are obviously done taking pictures and did not want one with you.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who 'Float' Between Friend Groups

We all know "Hey, will you take this picture of us?" all too well. Am I right, ladies? Oh yeah, it is fine. I hate being in pictures. I definitely hate taking pictures to remember this wonderful time I'm having.

What about when you and your friends discuss doing something later during the week and you ask about it but "It's probably not happening anymore." Then you check and would you look at that, your "friends" are having fun without you.

Shocker.

Oh but don't worry about it, I had things to do anyway. You know, clean the house, work on homework that is due next week, binge-watch The Office for the third time this week. Fun stuff. Oh and better yet when you see your friends are hanging out without you. The next time they see you, they talk about how much fun they had.

Oh yes, please tell me about how much fun you had without me. I totally enjoy hearing about how "I totally missed out" and "I should have come." Well, an invite would have been well appreciated. But maybe next time, right? Wrong.


Yeah, I know what you are thinking, "Wow this girl is being so petty." Well if you are thinking that, then you obviously do not know the feeling. And to think about it, you probably are not the one in the friend group who is being left out. So think about who that person is and make them feel included next time. It would be greatly appreciated. You do not know how much of a difference it could make.

Yes, I know everyone feels left out sometimes, but time after time, it starts to get really old. Then after you have to start inviting yourself to hang out with people, you realize well since they are not inviting me themselves, maybe they don't want me here. And then surprisingly, you stop hanging out with them. Hmmm, I wonder what could've possibly happened.


Yes, I know, most people do not do this on purpose. I am sure I have even done it once or twice without realizing it, and I am truly sorry.

From one left out girl to another,

Good Luck

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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9 Things You Hear Growing Up As An Only Child

No, I don't get lonely.

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Having no siblings definitely has its ups and downs, but I wouldn't have it any other way! Most people jump to the conclusion that you're spoiled or were an accident since your parents didn't have other kids, but being an only child is actually amazing. While my parents didn't give me every single thing I wanted, they taught me lots and I did earn everything I got.

1. Don't you get lonely?

Well, no, I do have friends. It also helped growing up when technology wasn't quite exactly where it is today. Everyone would play outside or with each other as opposed to behind a screen, and it kept everyone more connected. It also taught me that it's okay to spend time alone and it can actually be refreshing.

2. Do you wish you had siblings?

Occasionally growing up, the thought crossed my mind, but I never dreaded not having siblings.

3. Do you get everything you want?

Haha! Not even close!

4. You must be spoiled

With love, definitely. I might have gotten more than if I were to have a sister or brother, but my parents definitely taught me how to work for what I want.

5. Why didn't your parents want more kids?

When you do it right the first time, why would you need to have more? It just isn't what my parents wanted, but it worked out just fine.

6. Are your parents stricter since there are no other children to focus on?

I wouldn't say that fact alone makes a parent more or less strict. Yes, there were more eyes and focus on me, but my parents still allowed me to do things with friends and have freedoms.

7. What's it like being an only child?

I wouldn't consider it anything special. It was just how I grew up and I think I had a pretty good childhood.

8. You must not like to share

You're right, I don't. Who does? But it doesn't mean I can't or don't know how to.

9. Are you close with your parents?

Absolutely, and I love it!

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