Brotherly and Sisterly Love

When Your Once Annoying Siblings Grow Up to Become Your Best Friends

When my middle brother was born, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about him. He definitely wasn’t the sister I asked my parents for, and he was probably going to steal my only child spotlight. When I finally accepted that he was nonrefundable, I decided to take on the role of proud big sister.

Two years later, my youngest brother was born, and this time I was not as accepting of the fact that he wasn’t the sister I so desperately wanted. The first time I met him, I walked out of the hospital room and had to be chased down by my dad. He found me standing near the newborn baby room, selecting which one I wanted to take home. Apparently, it didn’t work that way, and I was stuck with two younger brothers for life, like it or not.

My parents should have seen it from the start. Though I was four and six at the times my brothers were born, I wore my “mommy’s favorite” and “daddy’s girl” shirts way too proudly to give those titles up to anyone. I had to show who was the first, and therefore, obviously the best child. Throughout the next 10 years, my parents had to deal with a lot of bumps, bruises, hair pulling, hitting, pushing and crying. It wasn’t until I was about sixteen that I realized that my brothers, now both taller and stronger than me, could probably take me down. Oh, how the tables had turned.

Keri Mullin, a junior who has a younger brother that is now a freshman in college, thinks that sibling relationships are some of the most important relationships one can have.  “The best part of sibling relationships is that it’s a relationship that no one else will understand. They’re kind of like a best friend,” said Mullin. “I don’t think it’s a bad part but I think the hardest part of sibling relationships, especially if it’s a girl and a boy, is that they mature at different times. There is definitely a time period where you don’t have much in common and don’t get along, but siblings always come back together. They might annoy you and make you angry sometimes but you love them unconditionally.”

Mullin continued, “I feel bad for only children, because the bond you get with a sibling is something you can’t get with anyone else; not parents, cousins or friends. You’re in it together to have each other’s backs.” 

A junior Nick Boyler, said he is definitely closer with his younger sister now that she is in college too. “When I was in high school, I didn’t want her to be around my friends or go to the same places I went to but things like that don’t matter anymore. We like and do the same things now because we’re both going through the same experiences. I feel like when we were younger everything was a competition, but now we’re very much alike,” said Boyler.

Communication professor Don Swanson said, “I agree that sibling relationships definitely get better as we get older. My brother and I are five years apart and live very far away from each other, but we’re closer than ever now. I think relationships depend on the close proximity to one another and I also think, because I teach intercultural communication, that most students come from NJ because they want to be within a small distance to their families. Family is such an important and significant factor here.” He added that nowadays it is much easier to have relationships and bond with family members and siblings because of electronic devices.

Looking back at the relationships I’ve had with my brothers over the years, there was probably no need to show who was the boss of the house, especially when they were newborn babies. As much as I fought and disagreed with them when we were younger, things are pretty different now. Of course, I’m at school and don’t see them much, but every time I do, it feels like we are all more mature. As I’ve watched them grow up, I’ve realized how alike the three of us are and how much we have all changed. Though they are 16 and 14-year-old boys, I can have real conversations with them now and give them advice about things I went through at those ages.

The three of us text from time to time, but just the other day my youngest brother called me just to say “hey,” which I don’t recall him ever doing before. At first, I thought he was joking, but when I spoke to my mom later on that night, she stated that he really was just bored and wanted to see how my week went and how I was doing. “He really does miss you Victoria, and he is growing up.” That’s scary to think about.

I’ve put my brothers through a lot of torment as we’ve grown up but at the end of the day, I love them. I’m so happy we have the relationships we do. I’m also secretly happy I never got the sister I wished for so many years ago. I like things just the way they are.

PHOTO COURTESY of Victoria Keenan