From Our Teen Readers
March 16, 2015 4:30 pm

Growing up with older siblings can be one of the best (and most interesting) parts of your life, especially if you have an older brother. I had always known this to be true, but it took my brother moving to college to really hit it home. From the time he walked down the high school graduation aisle to the time we unloaded the last of his boxes for his dorm, I began to reflect on the years we spent growing up together. Here are some of the things that growing up with an older brother taught me, and what I learned after he left.

Growing up with a brother taught me that: There are moments that drive you insane.

There were the good times, when we would watch movies and cartoons together, the times full of sibling bickering, and then there were just the down-right wacky moments that I look back and think, “Did he really?”  I had more than one of those “did he really” moments, like the time he threw one of my dolls down the heating vent because he was jealous of the attention I was giving it. Or the time he interrogated my date so badly that he admitted to being in his thirties (it’s important to note that my date wasn’t in his thirties; we were at a children’s summer camp and 12 years old). These moments made me pretty upset at first, but to be honest, I’m glad they happened.

Having him gone made me realize: I miss having someone watch my back (even when I’ve got it covered).

A sibling is always there for you and they’re willing to go to extreme measures to intervene when you don’t have your priorities straight. I realize now how much my brother cares for me. He cared enough about my feelings that he almost brought my poor date to tears. He cared enough for me that he felt his position as a sibling would be compromised if I spent one more second with that doll instead of him. To this day, he continues to care, and he continues to do completely irrational things that make me love him more.

Growing up with an older brother taught me that: Siblings are almost always on your level.

It was awesome having a brother around and being able to say, “Hey — Look at this!” when there was something funny or interesting on the Internet, and knowing it was something he totally understood. Siblings share lots of personal, unspoken moments, like when I would come home and just looked at him with a certain expression on my face and he would reply, “Right?!” Your sibling has lived the closest thing to the same life as you and they get it like no one else.

When my brother left I learned: I miss being able to relate to someone easily.

It really hit me how out of it my parents are when it comes to pop culture, and even though they really try to understand, they just don’t get it. (I am still very thankful for them though, don’t get me wrong.)  

Growing up with an older brother taught me that: You have a built-in friend group.

During my freshman year of high school, my brother was a senior. He had his friends and I had mine, but somehow they overlapped. As the year went on, I began to see how this affected my life. I started laughing at things I didn’t really think were funny, doing things I didn’t really enjoy. This made for a very long and daunting freshman year. Then he graduated, and I began sophomore year.

Having him gone made me realize that: I’m my own person  — and being true to that makes me happier than I’ve ever been.

I noticed how much happier I was being on my own. I didn’t depend on him for what to do, didn’t look to him to see when to laugh. I was my own person again.

Growing up with an older brother taught me that: Siblings are really close.

My brother was always someone who would be there to bug me, embarrass me, make me laugh, frustrate me, and basically do everything a brother was supposed to do. Sometimes I couldn’t stand how much he frustrated me by doing the “brotherly things,” and sometimes I couldn’t wait to run into him and share what had happened in my day.

Having my brother gone made me realize: Siblings aren’t just family, they are friends.

It is often said that “relatives are the people you are born to; family members are the people you choose to be with.” When the two categories overlap, you know you are a truly fortunate person.

Having a sibling is an awesome responsibility, and they are always looking out for you. Don’t take for granted the time you have with them; appreciate every moment.

Anastasia Mathews is a sophomore in high school who is also working on completing two Associates degrees. She serves as a representative on the Colorado Youth Advisory Council, as well as the National Honor Society. She is a total art fanatic, theater geek, Pinterest fan, and avid reader of used books (the best kind!). She loves doing marathons, but only when they involve Netflix.

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