To my little brother

There are some things you should know.

Author’s note: This essay was inspired by a similar post I found on the Odyssey. But rather than share the article, I thought I would write down my own thoughts about having a little brother. Vince, these are for you.

You get me.

I don’t think there’s anyone on this entire planet who knows me like you do — both the good and the, well, not-so-favorable. You know I arch my left eyebrow more than I should. You know I like dolphins and the color purple, but also that I like to run outside and laugh and dream of a future bigger than myself. You know me, even when I do not know myself.

I never realized how close we were.

It took a few years away at college — that little bit of distance — to realize just how close we are at heart. I wear you around on my sleeve every day; not an evening goes by when I’m not reminded of the silly smiles, the sleepovers, the all-night movie parties, the lightsaber battles in the basement. All the photos on my walls would be so empty without you. You truly are my best friend.

Thanks for Harry Potter

…and for Star Wars, and for The Lord of the Rings. For Louis C.K., and for Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask. For Zelda GameCube games, and for Mario Kart-Monkey Ball pastimes. For GameBoy SPs, and for borrowed copies of A Separate Peace. For piano recitals as I sit on the the front steps, and for endless nights of summertime adventures. For everything that was my childhood that wouldn’t be my childhood because of you. Thank you.

Your future is as bright as you are.

I want you to know that I never worry about you. Not really. Like a constant star, your gentlemanly character has stayed true, and your steady, burning passion has kept on — even when I would have surrendered. You are smart — but not just “smart.” You are sharp, witty, quick with a quirk and quick with a smile. You have the whole wide world ahead of you. And I want you to know I’ll be supporting you every step of the way. Always.

I am sorry.

I’m sorry for all the times I marched you around in high heels. I’m sorry for all the times I didn’t let you play with the “big kids.” I’m sorry for all of the rudeness, for all of the carelessness, for all of the misunderstandings. You don’t believe me? Well, I guess there is 19 years to make up for. Maybe in 19 more, you’ll see the good in me (now that you actually have to look down on me, you six-foot giant, you).

I never want to say goodbye.

There are some things I think about, some things that I imagine would be terrifying and tragic. Some of those things I think I can handle. Losing you is not one them. Vince, I never want to have to say goodbye. I came first, and I should leave first. That’s just how it should be done. There is so much good in you — just like Anakin Skywalker — but only good in you. And this world will lose such a talented, caring, and loving soul in you, when it is your time. So don’t leave, not soon. Wait to say goodbye to me — don’t you ever leave me.

I love you. And I’ll spend the rest of my life showing you that I do.

“I am who I am because I have a younger brother. I am who I am, because he is a part of me. Thank you, Vince — for loving me when I could not love myself, for teaching me things I’ll never understand on my own. For being my brother — that’s all I could ever ask for.”

This essay also appears on Medium

One Comment

  1. Debi & Don Durbin says:

    Bethany,   This is the most precious thing you could have written to your brother.  I’m sure there were tears rolling down his face as he read this.  As they were for me too.  Your mother is so proud of you and Vince and what both of you have become as young adults.  Your brother will always have your back no matter what.  Yes, sometimes it does take moving apart do realize the good we have and to cherish it until we just want to burst.    HUGS!! Debi

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