I look up to my big brother Michael. He has gone through challenging times, including being in and out of jail, but he is the most helpful person I know and he is always in my heart. What I mean is that I love him unconditionally. I have sisters I love unconditionally as well, but it‘s my brother I always run to because I can talk to him about anything.
My brother is a big inspiration because he takes care of what needs to be done and always reminds me not to let anyone think they are better than me because of what they have. We grew up without many things in life, but he makes do with what he‘s got.
Michael has two kids whom he loves dearly. A lot of people might expect a black father who grew up in not such a great environment without a father figure to walk out on his kids. Not my brother, he‘s not like that.
Michael and my big sister Michelle have been on their own since they were 15 and 16 years old. My brother knows a lot about life, and is always teaching me new things. He is the kind of person who will help anyone in need. When my aunt died, her daughter (our cousin) went through a lot. She had so much going on that she didn‘t know what to do, so my brother let her live with him and my sister.
A few years ago my sister was five months pregnant when she had a miscarriage. She was in a lot of pain and was really depressed but my brother was there every step of the way. When Michael heard she was in the hospital he took me to see her. My sister was in the hospital for three days, and my brother stayed there to comfort her.
Michael was also there in my time of need. Before freshman year, he took me shopping. My parents had bought me school clothes but my brother bought all my supplies and even more clothes. Michael has his own kids to take care of but he is so generous and wants me to be successful in school.
Then, for about a year Michael was in prison and I had no one to talk to. I wrote him and he wrote back, but it wasn‘t the same. I wanted to hear his encouraging words spoken in his deep inspirational voice. When I found out that my brother was being released, words couldn‘t express my happiness.
Recently I have had a lot of drama at school with no one to turn to except Michael. He said, “Don‘t worry about those people, I‘m your best friend.” That meant a lot to me, and now that is my motto when I find out my so-called friends are talking about me.
My brother is a unique person who can put a smile on my face no matter what kind of mood I‘m in. If you met him, you would not forget him because he would make you laugh so that you would remember how much fun a simple conversation can be.
If I were a table, Michael would be my legs because he is what holds me up. If everyone had a big brother like him, I don‘t think there would be so much trouble and violence in this world.
Having a big brother like Michael is the most important part of my life and I take advantage of it every day. I am overwhelmed by and greatly appreciate all the astonishing things he does for me.
People used to think my brother wouldn‘t amount to anything, but he has. Some may think they‘re better than me because they have more material things, but I see it as I‘m better than them because I have my big brother, Michael.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.