This morning I found myself reminiscing about the cute things my not-so-little 16 year old brother has said to me over the years. Most of the time he is picky and builds up a rage inside me that only his annoying comebacks can raise.
But, once in a blue moon, he will do something or say something that will warm me to my core.
I’ve always had a soft spot for my brother – spoiling him more than I know is good for him. It must have been hard for him growing up, no older brother and no father. No one to ask about those embarrassing issues I’m sure he’s had to figure out – and will continue to figure out late into his teens or even life. No one to practice football with. No good – or even – role models.
And it hasn’t been easy for myself or my mum. His words sometimes cut deep and his actions were often disappointing. Disappointment – a dull pain that hurts more and lasts far longer than the quick fire of anger. He has been caught stealing from us, he is lazy – refuses to work hard or apply for work experiences, and the way he treats girls makes me want to strangle him with my own hands.
But I’ve noticed a softness and understanding in him that gives me hope he will grow up to be a loving man. We’ve talked about consent, about the true meaning of racism, anti-blackness, unity, policing – and I think he gets it. I have hope he’ll be a great leader in our community one day. He volunteers, he loves kids, and though I catch him slipping, we’ve bought him up to respect women and expel societal, sexist stereotypes.
And my top three things he’s said to me:
- I’ll be your guardian. Just before my graduation, he came up to me and said this. He knew people take pictures with their mum and dad on their graduation day and he said he’d be my guardian. Honestly, it wasn’t something that had even crossed my mind but the fact that he had thought about it and worried I would be worried was so sweet. And so, on my graduation day I made sure I took a picture with just him and my mum – my guardians.
- You may as well give up now. Mum’s friend of a friend had a son who was looking to get married and we were discussing whether he was worth a match. My cutie pie of a brother said there was no way I would find someone who would match up to me. Awwwww!
- This house would not survive without you. We were discussing me moving out and this was his response. Double Awwwww!
And to all the mother’s and siblings bringing up son’s without any men in their lives – I salute you. It’s hard and you’re rocks. Here’s praying that they grow up to be honest, loving and pious men – pillars within their communities – and are the coolness of their mother’s eye. Ameen.