Just Sib Things

I don’t know how many times I’ve screamed “I hate you and wish you were dead!” in my life, but it’s probably a lot. And that horrible phrase was always directed towards the same two people: my younger brothers. 

Relationships with siblings are extremely complicated. You share some of the same genes, live under the same roof and are expected to like each other. Most of the time you love each other, but that doesn’t mean you like each other.

The day my first brother James was born, I tried to bite him. I threw fits because I was no longer the important one in the family. I was a regular two-year-old diva. Whenever someone visited to say hi to the new baby, I skulked in a corner. Albert’s birth had the same effect on James. No longer was he the youngest. Instead, he was subjugated to the dreaded middle child status. 

My parents each had multiple siblings while growing up. I always used to ask them if they would fight with their own siblings. They said yes, but that they eventually outgrew the constantly fighting phase and became good friends.

“It’ll happen to you three, too. You think you hate each other now, but one day you’ll realize that no one else will be there in the same way that siblings are,” they said.

I didn’t believe them. How could I get along with an egotistical control freak and a small kid who still ate his boogers? I vowed to stay as far away from them as possible in the future.

We fought constantly. One particularly brutal fight resulted in me throwing James’ Nintendo DS out of a window (it survived). James ransacked Albert’s room. Albert refused to talk to me after I told the family about something I promised not to. At the age of 14, I went for three weeks without speaking to James after he had done something extremely maddening. The silent treatment came to a breaking point when we were forced to share a room during a family vacation. 

Yet through all the drama, we formed clubs, had sleepovers and watched every episode of “The A-Team.” We biked around the neighborhood, spent summers swimming in the pool and challenging each other in weird duels. For each terrible experience, there were two good ones. 

Looking back at this now, I realize how meaningless our disagreements were. Now, our previous arguments have been replaced with new issues, maybe more serious. We’re old enough to know the right ways to rip the other person down. Yet our relationship has transformed. My brothers are no longer the bane of my existence. Going off to college led me to realize that they had become real people to me, something more than siblings. We’re friends. I know that our relationship will continue to transform as we get older. James is going off to college soon, and Albert just started high school. We’ll see each other less and less. But as much as that saddens me, I’m also excited to see what will happen to us next. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from dealing with these two idiots, it’s that the worst thing in the world might turn out to be the best.

*names have been changed