2 days after my brother, Alex, was born I sat on a couch holding him uncomfortably, clearly deciding whether I was excited about having a younger brother or scared about the attention he would take away from me.
I think I realized a short time later that having a brother was mostly a good thing. While there were plenty of days I wanted to kill him, there were -- and still are -- a bunch of perks to being an older sister (this blog post being one of them). In honor of Alex's birthday, I wanted to list some of my favorite older sister memories that I think we can all relate to:
1. Manipulating him into playing dress up with me, by saying I'd wear his clothes if he wore mine. I think this was every girl's favorite game, but it was even more fun with a brother. I forced him to make those facial expressions, too.
2. Wearing matching outfits. While this wasn't my choice, I'm pretty sure my parents were trying to take cutesy photos, and he was always too young to complain or know that it was even embarrassing.
3. Helping him do things like swimming. Since I was bigger than him for the first few years -- the only time in my life that I'll ever be taller or stronger than someone -- I could dunk him or half-drown him any time I wanted.
4. Having someone to play outside with, but always having to yell at him to stop following me. We made pretend soup with the "beans" from those pods that flew through the air and tried to learn tricks on our Razor scooters.
5. Teaching him how to play Barbies or have a fashion show with me. But don't worry, I played monster trucks and dinosaurs with him. Now we can say we're not boring -- our interests are so diverse! I still know the names of at least 10 Monster trucks...Grave Digger, Medusa ....
He had his birthday party at Cleveland Brothers. He's the kid climbing up the highest.
6. Having someone to build the biggest stuffed animal collection with. I wish I had a picture that truly captured how many of those things we had.
7. Being forced to share everything with him, whether it was my pack of candy or blankets. We were probably hitting each other the second after this picture was taken.
8. Forcing him to take pictures in the Chuckie Cheese photo booth -- my favorite thing ever! It was especially nice when I got him to do the "trendy" peace sign pose, too.
Today he turned 18. Now that he's older, it makes me sad thinking he's an adult going off to college soon. I think I thought he was always going to stay little, following me around everywhere and doing annoying things. While he can still be pretty annoying, I know he's going to do great things with his own life, now that he's smart and funny and not as easy to manipulate.
We had quite the childhood, and without the fights and torturing we put each other through -- one time he decided to walk up to me with a pair of scissors and cut my big toe -- we wouldn't be the friends we are today. With a brother, I always had a buddy.
Happy Birthday, Alex!
Does anyone remember using Xanga in the early 2000s? You know, the site where you could design your own obnoxiously-flashing layout and add meaningless quotes that made you look deep -- quotes that were typically attached to a picture of a couple holding hands or kissing in the rain. It was all the rage before Myspace. Well, I was planning to write a post about the phases of blogging but unfortunately for you, I can't access my childish accounts so we can make fun of them. But it got me thinking...
For years, I've been seeing this quote make its way across the Internet. Whether someone puts it as their Facebook status or tries to be subtle by referencing it in hashtags, it pretty much goes like this:
I'm sorry if you like the quote, but as I've gotten older, I keep getting more fired up about it. There's a few things that confuse me about the girls who post it:
1. So you basically want to take over his personality? If you're his everything, you want his life to become 100% about you, right? Even though all of the things you first liked about him were never about you -- like his passion for animals or his love of baseball or his witty jokes, or even his favorite band that you can't stand but secretly like watching him belt out in the car. If you want to become his everything, I guess all the fun parts of his personality don't matter, because you're better. Why wouldn't he want to eliminate everything else in his life for you? You must be super amazing.
I don't know about the rest of the girls out there, but I'm not trying to date myself.
2. If you're his everything, does that mean he has to give you constant attention? I guess if you're looking for someone who never leaves you alone and needs to be with you every second of the day, you really might be cut out for the job. You must want someone to rely on you for every part of his happiness. It probably gets difficult if you have a bad day and want to mope in your bed alone with ice cream. What happens if you fart, or choose to go to dinner with the girls instead of being home with him? He must not know how to be happy if you mess up or aren't there for an hour. But I guess if you're his everything, you're probably perfect.
If I want someone who relies on me for his every need, I'm going to get a dog.
3. And if you're his everything, what happens to your brain? If your sole desire in life is to be someone's everything, you might as well hand him your brain and your soul on a plate. You don't own your mind anymore; he does, since you're now his everything. You can't be passionate, free-spirited, fierce and independent if you're longing for him to be consumed by you. If he's not allowed to be happy without you, I guess that means you won't be able to feel happiness without him. Sounds like the perfect recipe for an exciting life.
Well, I don't know where that leaves me. I like to do some weird things, I like to think, and -- shocker -- sometimes I like to be alone.
I wish more girls knew the feeling of truly being independent and content with themselves without needing to be a guy's everything.
I, personally, like being someone's partner and his equal. Tell me I'm being stupid, show me new things, talk about both philosophical ideas and the weather with me. Play video games while I'm watching a Lifetime movie eating ice cream in bed. Have fun with the guys, and then come home and have a beer with me and laugh about our days. Take me to the airport for a trip with my friends, so when I come home a few days later, I can't wait to see you waiting for me. Miss me while I'm gone, but do fun things.
Please, just don't make me your everything.
My favorite things are the simple ones: day-long book binges, cozy candles, dog kisses, ink on your hands, tree stars (leaves for those of you who never watched The Land Before Time) sweater weather, new ideas, local craft beer, punctuation, and knotty saltwater hair. Desserts are my favorite meal. I'm a creative writer and editor, and I created this space to keep my writing reflexes sharp and to share my simple ramblings with you!