I was scrolling through my timeline on Facebook not too long ago and I noticed something odd. People were posting pictures of themselves proudly posing with their siblings. Which isn’t altogether odd but the amount of people doing it was was slightly odd. Apparently it was national siblings day. I never knew this was a thing but it caused me to think about my relationship with my brother.
Growing up me and my brother were polar opposites. He was an athlete whereas I was into books. He was outgoing I was reserved. He was into hip hop I preferred jazz and rock. It seemed for years our differences outweighed our similarities.
He was the typical older brother in a lot of ways. Sometimes he was my protector and other times my tormentor. I was the typical little brother, I would “borrow” his cool clothes and generally make a nuisance of myself.
I always looked up to him when we were kids, I always thought he was so cool. One vivid memory I have as a kid is trying to learn how to ride my bike without training wheels. My brother told me that if I learned how to ride without them, I could ride bikes with him and his friends.
After he told me that I worked hard to learn how to ride my bike. I fell time and time again but I got back on my bike until I succeeded. The moment I learned I was bursting with excitement I thought my brother would be really proud of me.
As a kid I constantly tried to make my brother proud. I tried to be good at sports games, which I hated. I took the blame for his mistakes. I just generally tried to be a good little brother.
As we aged though a rift grew between us. Those teenage years took a toll on our relationship and we grew apart. That was a confusing period of life for me, I was so angry and sad most of the time that I’m sure the aforementioned rift seems bigger to me than it was to him.
Those sibling fights and teasings really got to me. I already felt flawed so him taunting me dug deep. I took it personally and thought he really didn’t like the person I was which hurt because I looked up to him. My brother has always been someone I could be proud of but I didn’t feel like I was someone he could be proud of.
For years I would tell my friends I wasn’t sure if I would ever have a relationship with my brother. Not only because of the scars left over from adolescence, but because he was hard on me. I was hard pressed to get any sympathy from him and I took that as him not appreciating or trying to understand my experience which translated to he didn’t care.
Looking back now I can remember instances where it was clear he cared that didn’t register at the time as concern and caring at the time.
One night I got into a argument with my mom which ended in me proclaiming I was going to spend the night at my friends house. Its funny now thinking back on it because I really had no clue where I was going to go. But when my brother did it he had somewhere to go and I wanted to be as self reliant as him.
So for forty five minutes I roamed my neighborhood, with nowhere to go. Then out of nowhere someone put me in a headlock and started threatening me. To say I was alarmed would be an understatement. The menacing and gruff voice turned to laughter, it was my brother. He had followed me in his car to make sure I was ok and eventually talked me into going home.
My brother has always done that. Which I didn’t learn about or appreciate until I was an adult. When I started high school he made sure I was adjusting well without me knowing. When my mom kicked me out when I dropped out of college, he made sure I had somewhere to go. He was always there watching from afar to make sure I was ok; but seldom would he make his presence known or let on that he was checking on me.
The moment I realized I had misjudged my brother was when I had a health crisis. I was upset and nobody could really get through to me, except him. He was there after years of us not really being close to help me. He talked me through what was going on that night at the hospital. He helped me get through that night.
My brother has always tried to be there for me. Truthfully I can’t say I was always receptive to his help. He was hard on me at times and that angered me. But when I need him I always know I can count on him.
As adults we finally have the relationship I always wanted when we were kids. Our differences are still there but they are mostly superficial. Yes we have different personalities and tastes in music and some differing worldviews but our differences add to the richness of our relationship rather than causing friction. We’ve both matured and as adults are better able to relate to one another.
We still fight of course as siblings will but the fights no longer cut deep for me. I realize that most of the time when he becomes angry with me it comes from a place of concern and not malice. Other times its just the puerile nonsense left over from childhood.
I used to scoff at the saying, “blood is thicker than water.” In fact I still do for the most part, I have blood relations who are a little better than strangers. I have friends who care about about me more than some relatives. However, that saying definitely applies when it comes to my brother. Outside of my mother, I have no friend or relative that can measure up.