A Letter To My Son, About Being A Little Brother
By Risa Green
To my sweet boy,
I’m just going to come out and say it: it sucks to be a younger sibling. I can’t say I know how you feel, because as a firstborn, I have never been in your shoes. But I remember how I used to treat my little brother, and I wouldn’t have traded places with him for anything.
As your mom, my heart breaks for you every time that your sister hurts your feelings, or leaves you out, or makes you feel like a second class citizen. I think there must be something to the idea of karma, because with every heartbreak, I’m reminded of how mean I was to your uncle, and I see now how wrong I was for that.
I know you look up to your sister. I know you want her approval. I know you just want to feel like she likes you. I can see, on the “good days,” how happy it makes you when she’s nice to you, and on those rare occasions when the two of you have fun doing something together – like last week, when you both rolled around in the giant pile of paper in the garage – I can tell that you never want the moment to end. And on the not so good days, when she says she’ll play with you and then changes her mind, I can see your disappointment. When she yells at you and says you’re being annoying, I can tell how hurt your feelings are. When you ask a simple question and she snaps that it’s none of your business, the pain is written all over your face.
In those moments, I wish that I could wrap my arms around you and make all of the hurt go away, but I know that I can’t, because only your sister has the power to do that.
Now, I’m not saying that you’re totally innocent here. Sometimes, you make weird noises that would grate on anyone’s nerves after half an hour. Sometimes, you instigate arguments. Sometimes, you contribute your opinion when you weren’t asked, regarding things that have nothing to do with you. Sometimes, you make mean comments, too, like when you announced at the dinner table that your sister should wax her eyebrows because they’re too wide.
But while your sister gets upset about these things, they mostly roll off of her back. Unlike you, they rarely pierce the skin and wound her to the core. It’s not because she’s less sensitive than you are. It’s because – and this might sound harsh – your opinion of her doesn’t shape the way she feels about herself. But you, well, we both know that her opinion of you matters more than anyone’s, am I right?
That’s what I want to talk to you about in this letter, my love. I want to tell you that you can’t let her define you.
You’re not an annoying person just because …read more
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