I stumble into my house, hunched over with my backpack and unbalanced with a field hockey stick in one hand and my equipment bag swung over the other shoulder. After a long day at school and a rough game, I mutter hello to my family and climb the stairs to face hours of homework. I open my books, pull out a pen and plop into my chair as I get settled in the cell where I will spend the rest of my evening.
Then I hear my brother, Tim, turn his radio on. As Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose” reaches my ears, I lean over and push my door shut. I return to Christopher Columbus. Seeing me close the door with frustration, Tim turns his radio louder. I try to ignore it and concentrate on the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. Finally, I let out a sigh and bend forward to open my door and yell at him. Just as my hand reaches the door knob and my mouth opens, the door opens and Tim dances in. I try to stay annoyed, but a smile appears on my face.
“Are you just going to stand there or are you going to dance with me?” he asks. Once again, Tim makes my stress disappear.
People say that you can pick your friends, but not your family. I guess this makes me extremely lucky because I would never choose anyone different to be in my family. No one could replace my older brother and best friend, Tim.
Whenever I am stressed about school, nervous about a sports tryout, or annoyed with my friends, Tim always makes me forget it all. Whenever I start to yell, he has me laughing before I can finish a sentence. He always takes the time to play me one of his favorite songs, recount every play of his last hockey game, or show me his new fishing pole to make me feel better. Every Sunday, Tim takes me for ice cream. On the way home we drive by the beach. He helps me feel like I can face anything the new week brings.
Tim has his own style of living, doing what he wants regardless of what others think. I cannot count how many times I’ve asked him for advice and he has said, “Do what you want to do.” Though I know he will say that, hearing it gives me the confidence to move forward. Tim is friends with everyone, and he never judges. In Tim’s mind, everyone is equal and deserves a fair chance. He allows everyone to be themselves and makes them feel comfortable, confident and valued.
Tim has never had a bad experience because he has never wanted to. Whenever I’m worried about an upcoming event, Tim tells me, “Life is what you make it.” I try to follow his example to make stressful things fun. He encourages me to take advantage of every opportunity and improve as much as possible. If I start to complain, Tim always reminds me that “We are so lucky because some people have nothing.”
Tim is the best role model and the funniest person I know. Some call others for advice or drive to a friend’s house for a laugh, but whenever I need help, I just walk across the hall.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.