I don't know how it was for the rest of you, but my first ever friend was my older brother. Being 7 ½ years younger than him you can say that he was like a second father figure to me. No, you know what... saying he was 'like' a father figure would be an understatement. He most definitely was. I still have a fond childhood memory of my brother sitting in the living room sharpening his pencil crayons with a box cutter knife while I sat in the living room table watching him. As he was sharpening them, his hand accidentally touched mine and I started crying telling him how he cut me. I think the both of us knew VERY well that the knife went nowhere near me. He carried me around the house for what felt like hours until I stopped crying. He looked at my hand over and over and over again till I eventually stopped crying. If that was me and I had a younger sibling, I would have slapped them silly and told them to stop lying. Growing up and thinking back to this day it reminds me of how lucky I really am and how utterly stupid I was to ever want a sister growing up.
Disclaimer: I'm almost certain this memory is real but since it has been scientifically proven that us humans do not really remember anything that happened to us prior to the age of 6 I could have honestly just made all this up in my head. It's like the time I was 2 I climbed into a cupboard and my grandma unknowingly closed the cupboard door. Basically my entire family thought I went missing until someone heard cries coming from the cupboard . Did this really happen? I say it does. But heck, I was 2. Who knows?
Honestly though... you can steal sweaters from a brother's closet and they won't even realize it's missing even if you're wearing it in front of them. Ladies with the sisters, I dare you to try that. You probably wouldn't get that far, huh? Oh well, when your sisters need a cute caption on your social media accounts you can just opt for the 'sister sister' caption without thinking too hard about it. We don't have it that easy. For that, I will always be jealous.
I want you to understand that my brother and I never had a picture perfect relationship. Although I had that "7 years older then me all mighty warrior" protecting me as a child it came with serious limitations later on. Whenever he went through anything in life I was way too young to understand anything. When he went off to University, this divide got even bigger. But really, can you blame him? Being in first year and living away from home for the first year he wasn't exactly going to come home and fill his baby sister ( I was grade 6 at the time) about all the new crazy things he was trying out. I always loved him, but being in junior high and having my brother home for the weekends felt like I had one more parent to answer to. If you grow up in a strict household (like many of us Sri Lankan children do) you'd understand that the things your brother may have gotten away with in junior high would not be acceptable for you. Why? Because he is a boy and you are a girl.
Don't freak out, don't get defensive. Just go with the flow ladies. Sometimes there are things your parents will never agree with. Agree to disagree and pick your battles wisely. I got lucky with open minded parents but that did not happen over night. That really happened through my brother, telling them how they can't say no to everything and that it's okay to want to go over for a sleepover or go camping with friends. So guys, if you're reading this and you're an older brother (or an older cousin, a mentor, etc.) to a sister living in a strict household, don't just be a second father figure, but also advocate. I am telling you to advocate on her behalf in certain situations cause she won't be able to win the battle for freedom without you. I know you guys already have a lot on your plate being the oldest and all. Trust me, I get it, but parents really do respect your perspectives on life and look up to you for answers. So if you ever do get the chance to let your sister go to that sleepover or that camping trip with her friends, let her! I am so incredibly grateful for what my brother did and his indirect actions of love during those years when we were the most distant. It's what made my love for him turn into respect. So if you're a brother who is all tough guy on your sister please for the love of god, stop. I can guarantee you that:
- You will not be the first person she calls when she really is in trouble
- She will feel scared of you and nothing more
- She will go out of her way to do things without you knowing. If she can get passed your parents, she can find a way to get past you
- Being open with her will allow you to know where she is if something does go wrong
- If your sister is a bully and really is up to no good forget everything I've said and lock her in a room forever. Jk, don't do that. But maybe don't let her go over for that sleepover
Life today: I am still 7 ½ years younger than my brother but he may actually be the first person I call when I am in trouble. Did that happen over night? Absolutely not. It happened after I realized he wasn't out to get me but was there when I needed someone to pave the way.
So brother dearest, thank-you for being my first and forever friend. I am grateful for all that you do to make my life easier and for all those responsibilities you take on even though there is a lot of pressure thrown your way. You are the true embodiment of actions speaking louder than words and no sister would ever compare to what you have taught me and continue to teach me everyday. Seriously dude, I wouldn't have it any other way.
As a newly graduated teacher from Toronto Ontario, I use this little space of mine to share all my loves + passions. Teaching, style, love, and gratitude are some of the things that encompass this space. Sit down, stay a while. I hope we can be friends.