My little brother starts college this week. It’s pretty crazy. I still remember him as that little baby I grew up with in a trailer in Somerville. He used to run around in nothing but a diaper and little baby cowboy boots. He would love to run around the woods with me and our sister. Our parents would always dress us in the same style clothes like we were twins even though we were five years apart and didn’t look the same.
Wanna Be A Baller
Growing up, we played sports and were each other’s biggest fans. We would be at every baseball, football, and basketball game that the other had, cheering him on at the top of our lungs. Later on when I was in college, he joined the tennis team for a little bit and I’d come down to watch him in tournaments. He was incredibly gifted in just about every sport he tried and was way more determined to excel than I ever was. It’s that heart and determination he brings with him to college that I know is going to see him through. He doesn’t quit and he can’t lose.
Rough and Tumble
I put him through a lot as a kid, though. I’ve hurt him a lot and it’s a wonder he still puts up with me. The earliest memory I have of hurting him is when he was about one or two years old. For some reason, I thought people’s heads were basically connected to their necks like a joint on an action figure. I wanted to test that out so I tried to pick him up by the head and swing him around. It didn’t work too well because he started crying once I wrapped my arms around his head and picked him up. One time we were “sword fighting” with those twist top mechanical pencils and I had untwisted the lead until it was really long. I ended up stabbing him in the wrist with it and my mom had to pull the lead out with tweezers. Another time, I was throwing plastic dollar store darts at him and busted a little hole in his forehead. Another time I pulled a tree branch back and let it whack him in the face. A big ol stick got stuck in his eyelid.
Knocked TF Out
The worst thing I think I ever did to him, though, was knock his front teeth out. A lot of people threaten people and say they’re gonna do it, but I actually did it. I didn’t do it on purpose, though. We were all at the beach that day. Me, my brother, and my sister were splashing around in the water while my parents and grandma were chilling in the sand. Me and my brother thought it would be a good idea to start throwing sand at each other. My mom saw us and told us to quit throwing sand so we did but we found a loophole and started throwing bits of coral at each other. The last piece of coral I threw skipped off the water and hit him square in the front teeth. They turned to dust. I try to think of ways to talk my out of what just happened but it was pretty clear there was no way that was going to happen. He’s got fake front teeth now and I feel bad about it pretty much every day. I wish I had enough money to give him the best implants. I love him so much and wish I could take back all those times I hurt him.
I know he knows I love him. He’s probably already forgiven me and forgotten about most of those things (except for breaking his front teeth) but it still sucks that I did all that. It makes me almost tear up thinking about the times I made him cry, the times I made him feel like I didn’t care about him. But I do and I always will.
Brand New Man
I’m not gonna lie, I choked up a little bit when I saw him with his shaved head marching down the field with his squadron. He looked like a new man. He looked like a completely different person. When I left for college, he was a little thirteen year old kid. He hadn’t even been through some of the biggest challenges life was about to throw at him. That’s another one of those irrational regrets that I have. I know how hard life was between 13 and 18. Balancing your social life, home life, and the stress of trying to keep up your grades to get scholarships for college so you’re not buried in debt when you graduate. Those few years were incredibly taxing. Sometimes I get upset with myself for not being there to guide him through that. I know I was away at college and tried to text him as much advice as I could but I wish I was physically there for him.
Here We Go Again
The go thing is, I’m here now. I live about ten minutes from campus and will be seeing him as much as possible. I don’t want to smother him but I also don’t want to waste any opportunity of seeing my best friend. Maybe I’ll have a second chance to help him with some of those life problems he’ll undoubtedly face in college. Hopefully he won’t run into too many, but I’ll be here if he does.
So, J, that’s what’s been on my mind. My little brother’s in college and it’s given us a whole new chance to to grow together.I won’t waste this chance. And if you’re reading this, little bro, good luck out there. I love you.