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The Moment My Brother Became My Friend

It wasn’t that I had the depth to perceive a power shift. I was slightly too self absorbed to consider anyone knocking me off my high horse. What had changed was my brother, he had grown, and he was no longer afraid.

Growing up I was the second oldest in a family of six, two parents, two brothers, one sister, and me. I was right between the two boys. I guess we were privileged kids compared to most. We had a playroom, gaming systems, a big yard for football and baseball. Not going to lie, I had a good childhood. While I can’t speak for my younger brother I can say that we had very different years growing up. I was a girl that was athletic. I was old enough to keep up with the older kids and popular enough among peers of my age group that I never had a shortage of friends. That’s not what it was like for my younger brother. He was the young one, older than my sister who was just a little thing, but not old enough to play with the big kids. He was kind of chubby, a loner. Today he’s grown into himself so he can actually be considered handsome, but not then. Then he just wanted to be one of us.

It didn’t help that I was a mean older sister. I was exclusive and bossy, manipulative, and rather spiteful and selfish. It makes me laugh thinking of that girl now, everyone thought she was so sweet and I was to most, just not my younger brother. My mother used to say that I saved all my upset for him, she often reprimanded me for being a bully. Today I can’t even think of words to apologize for how I treated my little brother, but luckily he’s a big enough person to look beyond it.

I guess it all changed when he became taller than me. Superficial as it seems, that’s what did it. It wasn’t that I had the depth to perceive a power shift. I was slightly too self absorbed to consider anyone knocking me off my high horse. What had changed was my brother, he had grown, and he was no longer afraid. He was no longer afraid to stand up for himself and assert himself. No longer afraid to be the banjo playing juggling romantic six foot four plus nerd he was, and that changed everything.

I didn’t yield quietly. He was my younger and I his elder. There was a pecking order and I would not stand for it being violated, but my old tricks failed me. My insults washed off like a smudge of dirt; my shadow was shrunk by his. His chess game had suddenly become much more advanced than mine. So then I tried to become his friend. I thought if we were friends he would be more inclined to give me what I wanted. My younger brother always had this sense of sympathy and guilt that made him give in, even still to this day he is one of the most compassionate people I know.

In my manipulation scheme I hadn’t counted on actually liking who my brother was. I hadn’t counted on the laughs and the commonalities between us. To my surprise I found that one I wanted more to be his friend than I wanted him to be mine. It only took a decade and a half, but my younger brother and I are friends. Ezra, my younger brother is my friend and it’s changed my life.

This summer I will be working at a camp that my brother attended for several years. We were talking on the phone today and he said that he has a reputation there, such a reputation that will make it so I am referenced as his sister. Ezra is kindhearted and jovial. He may be slightly misguided in feeling that he always deserves the passenger seat on family car rides, but he like my father is one of the best men I know. I would be happy to be known as being his sister. I am so blessed to have him in my life.

So this is my moment. The moment my brother became my friend. In this world we have work and we have bills, which are countered by family and friends and I am so lucky to have found someone that is both. Ezra is my family; he is my friend. This is my moment because people are all we have. So if you’re reading this and you have estranged siblings call them. If you’re not phone people use e-mail, write them a letter using snail mail. A sibling who is a friend is a wonderful precious gift. Don’t let it take a decade and a half. You will be surprised how much you have in common.

--Ezra, if you ever read this I will deny everything.--

Remember just because you’re friends doesn’t mean you aren’t siblings too. Pranks and stereotypical comebacks will always apply. Although, I would avoid using your mom jokes. After all you guys have the same mom.


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