siblings sitting in a parkI am the baby of my family with three older brothers. The age differences are 13 years, 8 years and 3 years between each of them and me. Growing up, our house was always full of people and full of noise. Sometimes it was hard to have a minute alone without my brothers outnumbering me with what to watch on tv or what games to play. There were the typical fights and roughhousing, some days we fought more than others, and some days we took sibling rivalry to a whole new level. As we each grew up, and the pranks, teasing and stealing of toys passed, we fought over new things. Asking for rides, begging to swap chores, or borrowing each other’s CDs.

When I started dating, my brothers were there to keep a watchful eye over me and made their presence known to any person I showed an interest in dating.

As my brothers each moved out and started their own families, it was exciting to meet their future wives and see them grow up and become fathers, considering how many noogies they gave me, and how often they picked on me.

All four of us have children now, one of my brothers lives in the Midwest, while the other two are within an hour’s drive from me. Our family has faced its challenges over the years, but my brothers and I have rallied together to deal with those issues and it sometimes seems like there is no distance between us.

As tough as it was having three big brothers with equally sized personalities, I know that I am who I am now partly because of the relationship I have with each of them. I learned how to stick up for myself, and when to let things go. I learned great lessons about music, finances, dating, moving out, and movies, even though I still won’t watch Star Wars because of them. My brothers helped teach me how to drive, how to manage my finances, and so much more.

I’m now expecting our second child, making our son an older brother.

I know that the sibling dynamic is never perfect, but I hope my son and our second child can learn some of the things I have learned and that he can look out for his younger sibling like my older brothers looked out for me. I know it won’t be all rainbows and playing for them, but I think the true treasure of siblings is when you become an adult. It’s hard to see that when you’re little, but it’s something I wouldn’t change for the world.


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