Pin It When I was growing up my parents decided to have another child. Why they decided this, I don’t know. What I do know is that I was not consulted in this monumental decision that would undoubtedly affect my life more than anyone else’s in the family. I was simply told that he was coming, and that there was nothing I could do about it.
As you can imagine, I was not thrilled at this prospect.
The months passed, faded, and blurred to a bleak day in November that we drove my mom to the hospital; it was there that she gave birth to my little brother, officially making me the middle child.
Thanksgiving Day was spent with my dad and older sister at a local restaurant eating hamburgers and fries for the holiday meal, while mom was doomed to eat that tasteless, sterilized stuff at the hospital
You see, already my brother was ruining all of our lives.
A few days later or so he came home. He was younger than I was, he was littler, and he was cuter, too; everybody was all over him. They all called him, ‘Little Z.’
I could’ve puked.
I tried to have as little to do with the spoiled little brat as the years trudged on. During this time, he learned to talk, to walk, to talk, get into my things, and to talk some more. I remember one day walking into the living room to find him busily devouring the library book I’d checked out. I snatched it away from him and appealed to a higher power.
When I demanded justice through restitution and a formal beheading, she responded with something along the lines of, “Well, this should teach you to not leave your things where your brother can get them.”
I was denied justice and the satisfaction of his being punished. As you can imagine, I loathed the little blighter even more.
It wasn’t long thereafter that the day came when I felt my world had fallen apart. You see, my dad finished the upper level of our house and we moved upstairs. It was wonderful! I was finally to have a bedroom that was not in the food pantry with a door made of a blanket pinned up in the frame. This was to be a REAL bedroom. A bedroom with a door I could lock.
I was thrilled.
However…isn’t this always the way it is? Things just seem to be going your way, when the rug is pulled out from beneath you, and you find yourself in a worse predicament than you were in before? You see, at this moment when I felt that things were finally starting to go my way I was informed that my little brother and I would be sharing a bedroom together.
Well, that was just great.
I felt that my parents were intentionally ruining my life and trying to make me miserable. As a result, I blamed my little brother and thought all the more about just how much I disliked him; this in turn made me feel all the more miserable and sorry for myself.
After we’d shared a bedroom for some time, something else happened which changed our relationship forever. It all started late one night when I was getting ready to go to sleep. As I flopped down on my bed to read for a while, my little brother’s head appeared from the top bunk. Yancy—somewhat apprehensively—asked, “Would you read me a story tonight?”
As I made it blindingly clear before, I wanted as little to do with my brother as possible. However, if I were to read to him, I wouldn’t have to put up with his incessant chattering and questions—something he was well known for at bedtime.
I agreed, but it was more to shut him up than anything else.
That night I read to him from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I thought for sure that he would quickly become bored with the story, lose interest, and not ask for me to read to him again. You can imagine my surprise when he thanked me at the conclusion of several chapters. When he dropped off to sleep, I thought about how good it felt to read to him.
The next night the same thing happened, and even though I had homework, I put it off so I could read a few chapters to Yancy. He in turn expressed just as much gratitude as the night before.
After a few days of this, reading became our nightly ritual before bed, whether I had finished my homework or not. I would read until his eyes would become so heavy he couldn’t possibly keep them open any longer. Some nights when I stopped reading he would wake up, still groggy-eyed and beg, “No, please read just a little bit longer.”
We soon finished all of The Chronicles of Narnia and moved on to other books that I loved, such as James and the Giant Peach, and even a few stories I had written myself. It was from this small beginning that not only a love for literature was born, but a love between my brother and me.
The years have fled since those days, but the relationship that I share with my brother has only become stronger. He has been the greatest friend I’ve ever had, and we are closer today than at any other time in our lives. As I look back at the origins of our relationship—forged so many years ago—I realize that when I read to him, I was putting his needs before mine. It was by performing this simple act of service to my little brother, I came to appreciate him more as well.
I think back on that decision made so many years ago to have my little brother without my permission and realize the wisdom behind it. Like I said before, I knew that my brother would affect my life more than I could possibly imagine.
And so he has.