When I was five years old, my brother held up an ordinary desk stapler and told me it was what the doctors used to close my chest during my heart surgery, that’s why I had the little half-inch scars under the “big” scar. He said they ran out of stitches so they grabbed the next best thing — a stapler. That damn stapler haunted me for what seemed like an eternity.
A few years later, he thought it would be funny to throw me off the top of the slide into the pool. Into the deep end, thankfully.
He put a snake in my Easter basket (I swear it’s true. It was the one year when snakes were more abundant than Easter eggs).
He once made me get out of the car and walk home… for five miles (he got in trouble for that one — big time).
He blamed me for things I didn’t do. Quite a bit.
The list is endless. But that was his job as my big brother. It’s what he was supposed to do when we were growing up. All that jazz helped create the bond we share today.
With all the silly typical sibling stuff behind us, I’d like to take a moment to remember all the amazing things my big brother did and still does do for me. He’s the best — and I really mean that — big brother ever. There’s no way to list everything, but I’ll put a few actions into words and, hopefully, he’ll take time from his day to read this and understand how much he means to me.
So, this is for all you big brothers out there. Here are a few of the things your little sisters want to say to you.
1. Thank you for being my first “dude” friend.
You taught me how to be friends with dudes. Whether it helped me understand things like sports or cars or a host of other talents, you gave me a good foundation to interact with the opposite sex. This came in handy later in life.
“Because I have a brother, I’ll always have a friend.”
2. Thank you for teaching me things I couldn’t learn from Mom or Sis.
Things like how to play Atari games, or how to ride the Big Wheel off the roof into the pool, or how to have a party without mom and dad knowing. Or, when I was a freshman and you were a senior and you showed me around campus, helped me figure out my schedule, and introduced me to my teachers.
3. Thank you for driving me to and from school your whole senior year when I was a lowly freshman.
Especially when you were totally cool and lovin’ high school and I was … alternative… and hating high school. Yeah. That must have sucked, but you did it anyways and you were never embarrassed to cruise into the lot in your cool Volkswagon Scirocco with me in tow. Man, I loved that car. How come I got stuck with the station wagon?
4. Thank you for giving me confidence and courage I didn’t know I had.
Remember when I asked that senior to Sadie Hawkins (when I was still a freshman)? Okay, so we both knew he’d say no, but the point is you totally encouraged me to go for it. Not in a bad way either. You weren’t standing in the shadows, waiting to laugh at me. You were cheering me on. You were proud of my courage. He turned me down (politely) and, thanks to you, I totally survived the rejection. The end result is that Mr. Senior-Who-Said-No and I talked and laughed and joked the rest of the year in art class so, all in all, it was an awesome move on my part.
5. Thank you for covering for me.
So, I wasn’t an angel. You covered for me a few times. There are two times we still laugh at: the time I drove up the neighbor’s driveway and when I came home after hanging out with the college boys in Berkeley. You laughed your ass off, but you made sure I didn’t get caught. I’m glad I was able to return the favor… over and over again.
6. Thank you for having cute friends.
No brainer. Older brother = older cute friends. Damn, they were fun to look at, hang out with and, er, kiss. That’s all I’m going to say on that subject.
7. Thank you for always being my spare date on New Year’s.
It was always a blast to spend New Year’s with you. You’re an awesome date and there was never that pressure at midnight to kiss (ew). And if either one of us got hammered, it was cool. It didn’t matter if we ended up spending the night at each other’s places. No one had to do the walk of shame in the morning.
8. Thank you for being the strongest one at Dad’s funeral.
You hugged me and consoled me. You told us funny stories. With effortless beauty and grace, you recited O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman, which moved people to tears. You let my husband hug me first, but you hugged me second when Dad was being buried. To this day, twenty years later, you still call me on the anniversary of Dad’s death to make sure I’m okay. Because I’m your baby sister.
9. Thank you for being my first superhero.
You always had a baseball bat or golf club by your bed, ready to kick some ass to protect me. Of course, having your black belt helped. And I was always impressed when you went all Bruce Lee on us with your nunchucks.
“Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero!” ― Marc Brown
10. Thank you for really caring, even though you sometimes acted like you didn’t.
I know… having a little sister was sometimes a pain in the ass. You acted like you didn’t care, but deep down I always knew you did care about me. You worried about me and you made sure I was safe and happy. You never wanted me to be hurt or sad.
“As we grew up, my brothers acted like they didn’t care, but I always knew they looked out for me and were there!” — Catherine Pulsifer
11. Thank you for all the talks.
You know the ones. When you talked about girls and came to me for advice or when I asked you about boys. You were there to pick up the pieces when some douchebag broke my heart. You never once rolled your eyes or complained. And you definitely supported me when I found “the one.” Even when it meant telling Dad I wasn’t going to that college he wanted me to go to.
“Here’s to real heroes, not the ones who carry us off into the sunset but the ones who help us choose our princes.” — E.M. Tippetts
12. Thank you for all the Saturday mornings together.
You and spent a ton of Saturday mornings in pajamas on the family room floor watching Saturday morning cartoons. Hey, that time wasn’t wasted. That was serious bonding time. Those Saturdays helped develop our friendship. Scooby Doo and French toast — nothing better.
13. Thank you for being the consistent guy in my life.
Before getting married, of course, you were the main guy in my life. You didn’t care how weird I acted or dressed. You didn’t care if I was blond one day or purple-haired the next. You thought my punk scene was intriguing, even though it was polar opposite to your popular world. You never failed me. I love you for that.
Even now, you’re second only to my husband. There’s no other guy I’d rather hang out with. You still “get” me.
14. Thank you for making awkward situations easier.
Anytime life gets awkward, whether it be with ex’s or people I’m not particularly fond of, you make it easy. You make the ex’s feel lame (in a nice way), you make me look good, and you make light of the situation. Whatever you do, I always come out looking fairly cool.
15. Thank you for being my family sounding board.
Oh my lord, thank God we come from the same family because no one understands the issues like you do. I’m perfect, of course. You recognize this, which is why I love you.
16. Thank you for dropping everything to be by my side.
In person or in spirit. Because we’re blessed to live close, for the most part, you’re able to be with me in person. You’ve been there for my wedding, when I needed your help during all my crises, and for the births of both my children. You’ve been there for both my children’s major heart surgeries (ALL of them) and for most of my surgeries. You’re the most supportive brother I know.
17. Thank you for being an amazing uncle.
Not only am I lucky to have you for a brother, but I’m even luckier to have you as my children’s uncle. You’re adored and loved beyond belief by my children. Not a day goes by that they don’t mention your name. Thank you for being a prominent figure in their lives. I couldn’t be happier to share you with them or to share them with you.
18. Thank you for being a great guy.
For real. You make being a guy look so easy. There are a lot of jerks out there. Thankfully, there is you. You cook, you clean, and you hold the door open for people in general. You also fix things, can live with or without sports, and look pretty darn cute in a tux. Most of all, you care about people. You care about the environment. You care about… kittens (OK, I added that one in because you do like itty bitty kitties and I think it’s freaking adorable). All of these things aside, it’s refreshing to know there are great guys out there and you are one of them.
19. Thank you for making me a sister.
I love being your sister. Enough said.
“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.” — Clara Ortega