November 4, 2013
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Siblings fight. One screams “Mommy, Mommy” while the other sits there with a smug look on their face. Their arms are folded with satisfaction, knowing what they did was wrong, but totally worth it. People say that they grow out of it, but my brother, Chris, and I still fight. He’s 23 and I’m 18. He’ll still put me in a head lock and I’ll bite him until he lets go. My other brother, Josh, is even older than me, lingering around 25. We never fought; we never had the chance. I met him when I was eight before he became my step brother. Josh was intimidating, but he was soon to become one of the most important people in my life.

I lived with Chris until he moved out to go to college and pursue his degree when he was around 20 years old. We fought like normal siblings, but we had a different kind of relationship than most brothers and sisters. I grew up around him and his friends goofing off and I tried to act older in order to try to join them. Even though I thought I was cool, they didn’t think so. We have a larger age difference than most siblings with no one in between us. He immediately took on the role of the protective brother ever since our parents divorced.

He would come to visit after he moved out and he’d take me to the movies or to dinner and we would stay up past one in the morning talking. He struggled with his grades in high school and college, even though he’s one of the smartest people I know. There was once when he and I brought home the same math worksheet for homework when I was in middle school and he was in college. But whenever I struggled in math, he was always the first one that I went to for help. He’d try his best to help me with my homework and protect me from things I didn’t even know I needed protecting from.

Today, he’s working on his degree in Music Production and Industry and it’s my turn to be proud of him. He’s pushing his way through college so he can follow his dreams and do what he loves. He was my rock since the day I was born and I still look up to him because of all that he’s done.

I remember the first time I met Josh. He and his dad came to one of my brother’s little league games with me and my mom. I didn’t quite grasp the significance of their presence but I still thought he was pretty cool. I was eating a box of Hot Tamales and I was tearing up from the spicy power of the cinnamon. He looked over and asked me if I was okay and patted me on the shoulder. Nervous, I nodded and continued eating.

He would come over and visit every so often and I would sit at the dining room table and do my homework. While I was doing my homework, Josh would draw me the most incredible drawings, all of which I still have. I was floored by his talent and I worked hard to try to learn to draw, but I was never as good as him, and I never will be. When he’d come over, he would tell crazy stories about his friends and his work. He always asked about how school was and what I was doing. He even teased me about boys, something Chris never did. I looked forward to whenever he would come and visit.

After I moved to the east coast, we still stayed in touch and he’d keep me informed about his status on going to UCR. He’d tell me how proud he was of me and how grown up I’ve become. When I would come back and visit, he’d pick me up in a huge hug and spin me around. He’s currently enrolled in the University of California Riverside to complete his doctorate in economics. I feel like it’s me who should be proud of him. And I am. I’m proud of both Josh and Chris for all of their accomplishments and for what they’ve done. They’re my role models through and through. I can’t imagine my life without them. They support me and make me feel like I always had someone even when I thought that I didn’t.

Every girl needs older brothers and they don’t always have to be “blood related.” She needs brothers who push her through all her troubles and pick her up even when she isn’t down. Brothers who make her laugh; make her cry for Mommy. Brothers who show her the way to greatness by example. Brothers who love her and are proud of her and vice versa. Brothers that she wouldn’t trade for the world. Blood doesn’t make a brother. Josh has become more a part of my family than other family members who say that they’re more to me than him. He’s given me wisdom and strength to be the person that I am today. He’s my brother and role model and I wouldn’t trade him for anyone or have it any other way.

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