The Influence of Brothers

Eric and Me

Ask anyone if they believe fathers play a crucial role in the development of girls and you will be met with plenty of agreement. A father is, after all, our introduction to the opposite sex. Fathers write the first draft on expectations for all future male relationships. (No pressure, dads.)

But what about brothers?

My brother Eric is six years and four days older than me. I may have been a daddy’s girl, but I am certain that Eric was the only person in those early years capable of stealing my favor. He was old enough for me to look up to, but he was also just another kid. What he thought of me mattered most.

He was always around. I spent more time with my siblings than my parents; kids are forever playing in other rooms and getting sent outside. All those long summer days while my dad was working a typical day shift? Eric was on summer break right along with me. As the oldest kid in our neighborhood he would organize games for us younger ones to play. How many twelve-year old boys want to hang out with a bunch of six-year olds? Continue reading

It’s Complicated

 

This isn’t a post about autism. It’s about my sister, who passed away two years ago today.

For the first eight years of my life, I was the youngest child in the family. Eric and Amy were six and five years older than me- which meant they mostly liked me because I was little and cute. I was constantly used as a pawn in their battles. It was always two against one, and I am pretty sure I was never the “one” in that equation. They fought for my favor.

I shared a room with my sister, so she was at an obvious disadvantage. She didn’t like me touching her things, and she yelled at me a lot. Also, I was kind of a tomboy, which she did not relate to at all. I never let her put eyeliner on me or curl my hair, and she was always disappointing me by running home crying every time she got hit in the face during a neighborhood sporting event. It happened so frequently I am convinced she made an actual effort to catch things with her face.  Continue reading