My brother Matt and I have always been total opposites. He is a lot like my dad, while I double as my mom in looks, mannerisms, and personality.
As many brothers and sisters do, we bickered a lot growing up; the reoccurring argument was over who’s turn it was to clean the bathroom that we shared upstairs. He would claim that he cleaned it last time, but I would counter by saying his habits were the reason it needed to be cleaned at all. Truly, I am not sure how it ever got done because of the fights that inevitably followed our mom telling us to decide who’s turn it was.
If put in the same situation, we would most likely react to it in completely different ways. Something we do have in common is our sensitivity and emotion-driven personalities, however, we display our emotions differently. I am 100% a crier, but the same things that can bring me to tears will stir up anger for Matt. For this reason, we don’t always communicate effectively . . . sometimes we would stomp into our rooms and shut each other out literally.
Moving to present day: Matt is 24, I am 21, we no longer live together at home and I live at school most of the time anyway. I think the best thing that could happen to Matt and I is us not living together. No bathroom to clean, no problem.
But seriously, having our parents split and now being the family glue has definitely brought us closer. I called him last week just to ask a question, but found myself updating him on my life and even complaining about the traffic I was sitting in at the time. There was nothing special about that phone call, but I hung up feeling better that I had my big brother on my side in life.
I have learned that having a sibling is an extraordinary thing. Matt and I are the only two people in the world that know what it is like to have our parents. We are the only two people that knew what growing up in our house was like; the good and the bad. When our parents fought or one of our grandparents died, I remember feeling incredibly lucky that I had a sibling to share tough moments with.
Matt and I are different in so many ways and were effected individually by the aforementioned family issues, but ultimately, we share the same perspective because we share a background. Again, we’re the only two who do. When I hung up the phone with him last week, I was reminded of that bond.
My brother is one of the most selfless people I have ever met. He is generous with his time, money, energy, thoughts. If he loves you, he loves you whole heartedly and will leap when you need him; I’ve witnessed it. He lets me know that he is on my side any time someone hurts me and he tells me he loves me at the end of every phone call.
This Christmas, we decided to get each other gift cards and set a budget of $50, but I opened a Starbucks card for $75 AND he had another gift for me. I immediately was taken aback and said, “But we had a budget!” He just laughed and said, “Yeah I felt generous!” That is my brother.
I don’t tell Matt how much I appreciate him. We have never had that “siblings by chance, best friends by choice” kind of relationship, so I don’t always know how to express my gratitude for him.
So brother, this is for you.
To know you is to love you.