I was the comfort my brother needed whenever
he felt shy.
The snarls of hair that made my sisters cry.
The shadow that danced beneath my dad’s feet.
And the pain that never allowed my mother to sleep.
I am the sweet sugar used in my mother’s
The tough, grubby gloves for my father’s scratched-up hands.
The encouraging voice in the back
of my brother’s head.
And the confidence my sisters use when I find them crying in bed.
I will be the excitement that tingles through my sisters’ spines when they say “I do.”
The tissues for my mother’s tears when she
is a given a grandbaby or two.
The hope my brother needs when it’s his time
to get down on one knee.
And the fast heartbeat my father feels
when he lets his last baby go free.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.