To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.
Hey. How are you downstairs, just a few meters away from me? 🙂
Do you know how much I love being this close to you? Back home we always ended up in different schools and with different crowds. Different, that’s kind of the word for us, isn’t it? Even as children it was obvious. You’d be with other little girls, acting out pretend beauty pageants or playing with our mom’s make up and heels, while I’d be outdoors, looking for wildflowers by myself or catching tadpoles with the boy next door. When it came to gifts, you’d always receive dolls or a kitchen play set, while I’d be delightedly opening the covers of a brand-new book. Our interests were so dissimilar it meant that we rarely competed, but also that we seldom found ourselves moving in the same circles.
Now, sharing an apartment with you in a different city, I get to enjoy being with you as much as I want. As I do, I find that the ways in which you are different from me are some of the things I love most about you. You are so brave, so fearless when it comes to letting people into your soul. You wear your heart on your sleeve, and I am always afraid that you’re going to get hurt. While I tread cautiously, you jump right in, throwing yourself fully and gloriously into trusting someone. That is your gift, and perhaps the one thing you have that I truly envy.
Keep that sweetness alive inside you. It is the loveliest of so many beautiful things that make you who you are. You are, truly, ma belle Evangeline.
I will always, always be here for you.
Loving you so much,
P.S. Thanks for always being there for me during “the crazy times.” I love you!
You, little brother, are one reason I love surprises. When you unexpectedly came into our lives, it was like God smiled at us from heaven and said, “Here. Have a huge helping of joy. It’s on me.” And just like that, our lives suddenly changed. With your impish sense of humor, your insatiable curiosity, and your clumsy tenderness, you completed our family and bound us even closer to each other. Watching you grow up has been an incredible joy.
But it is also more than a little bittersweet. You’re about to become a teenager, and pretty soon you won’t fit on my lap, and you’d be too cool to hold hands with your sisters in public. Even now, you’re starting to tower over us when we walk together. I want to roll back the years just a little, make your childhood last longer, so that we could stay in the times when you were so small I could put you to sleep on my shoulder, or just old enough to know how to turn on the charm for “just one more story” before bedtime. When nothing worse than a flat tire on your bike can go wrong and a hug is enough to make everything better. But I can’t, bunso, and that knowledge gives me a little pang in the heart even as I smile when I see how big you’ve grown.
Yet, I smile for a reason, because the person you are becoming is someone I’d love to get to know. You are kind to others, even those weaker than you. You’ve never bullied anyone, and have tried to protect those that other kids were bossing around. There is no prejudice in you; you can get along with your rich classmates as well as your playmates at the outreach. You make the whole family laugh, and are quick to give us a hug when we’re upset over something. In my darkest moments, you have literally saved my life by giving me a reason to hold on. You’re a wonderful person, Josh, and it makes my heart burst with pride to have you as my brother. Never doubt how deeply I am proud of you.
I wish I could be with you now, to help you find your bearings in high school, watch you deal with a crush, or just see if I can still get you to climb a tree in the rain with me. But your Ate, too, has her own growing up to do. Just know that wherever I am, my prayers are with you. And oh, I left a million kisses on your cheek while you slept. That’s for whenever you miss me.
I love so, so much, for always.