When I saw all of the tweets and Facebook pictures of people wishing their sisters a happy National Sister Day this morning I got a little sad. I don’t have a sister.
That fact was never more clear to me about 16 years ago when a then very little me sat on my parents bed. They had said they wanted to tell me something. I assumed it was something like “Hey, we want to buy you a toy” or “Hey, you’re the best dang kid ever.” Nope. Instead they told me that my mom was having a baby.
Of course, at my young age I had no idea what that meant, but I knew I was upset. I had been an only child since as long as I could remember (which isn’t really that much stuff). It was always just me, mom, and dad. A baby seemed like a terrible idea to throw off our trio. But once my parents started to tell me how much fun it was to have a sibling (they both have 3) I changed my mind. I thought a sister wouldn’t be too bad. It would be like having one of my friends at school living with me all the time. We could play with our stuffed animals, do each others’ hair, and wear each others’ clothes. I decided that having a sister actually sounded like a wonderful idea.
My parents sat me down for another talk some months later. They knew that this talk would be different, though. My mom did most of the talking I remember, and she tried explaining in the easiest terms for me to understand (simple for her anyway because she is a nurse), that, despite my hoping and praying, my little sister was a boy. I was getting a little brother.
I cried about this right up until January 15, 1998. That was the day my little brother Braden was born. I remember it well. I was at my grandma’s house when my dad called to let us know that Braden had arrived healthy and pretty fat (he was a giant baby). When my grandma told me all this I just turned the other way. I did not care about my brother’s weight.
I would say that for about the first three to five years of Braden’s life I did not like him. I really didn’t want anything to do with him. I was growing into a young lady while he was pooping his pants and playing in the sand. He made no sense to me.
To be honest I do not really remember the exact time in my life when Braden and I started getting along. Maybe it was the time I brought him to show and tell at my elementary school (yes, he was the item I was showing and telling about). Maybe it was the time he came with me to pick out my childhood dog. Or maybe it was the time he sat and cried with me when I had to put that same dog to sleep. And maybe it was the time when he called to tell me about the first girl he really liked and how she let him down.
I could have done all these things with a sister, but I don’t think my sister and I would have ever ended up becoming best friends. Braden and I are complete opposites. He’s sporty and I’m book-ish. I like English and he likes math. He listens to Lil’ Wayne (for the love of God) and I listen to Foreigner. On the surface we have absolutely nothing in common, which is probably why we get along so well. If I had to grow up with another girl (as if dealing with them at school wasn’t bad enough) I would have probably grown up hating her.
Today, I love my brother very much. And even though we are miles apart now that we have grown older, we have an inseparable bond. People often ask us why we get along so well. “You’re siblings. Aren’t you supposed to hate each other?” I don’t remember the last time Braden and I had a real fight about something that wasn’t about changing the channel back and forth from ESPN to E!.
Since I don’t have a sister, Braden and I have made specific plans to always make sure we don’t feel left out (since he doesn’t have a brother). If I ever get married Braden will be my “man of honor” so I don’t have to choose between my girlfriends, and also I will be his “best woman.” If one of us ever gets to New York City the other will go with. If one of us ever actually gets that successful the first person we will look up is Billy Beane (we are obsessed with him and if you don’t know who he is shame on you). When Braden graduates high school we plan on going to L.A. just to see what’s going on out there. And to be in the same state as Billy Beane. Because that’s what best friends do. They make plans that might not ever happen. But we make them together because there is no one else in the world we would rather share them with.
So tonight, as other people wish their sisters a happy National Sister Day, I want to wish my little brother a happy thanks for existing day. You have no idea how glad I am you aren’t a girl. Thanks for always being there for me and never being afraid to call me out on my shit. (Also, Braden I have no doubt that you are currently watching some sporting event on ESPN, ignoring what mom and dad are telling you to do, and not reading this. Sorry in advance for embarrassing you. But not really.)