I grew up with three wild brothers — two older and my twin brother. A lot of the time, they acted like complete knuckleheads — yet I never, not even once, yearned for a sister. In fact, I loved every minute of it. While my childhood wasn't perfect, looking back, I really liked the dynamic of being the only girl. And no, I wasn't uber spoiled or treated like a princess. Instead, I was just treated like me — I just happened to be a daughter among three sons.
My parents never pampered me. They didn't dote on me, shower me with praise, or tell me just how pretty I was. While I wasn't treated exactly like the boys, I also wasn't treated that much differently. My parents encouraged me to play sports . . . I mean, they did see me roughhouse with the best of them in our living room. Especially my twin brother and I — we'd get into it a lot. But as a tiny little scrapper (toughed up by two older brothers), I could handle my own. And as we grew up, we all played daily games of soccer, basketball, and baseball together in the backyard, where they never took it easy on their baby sister, either.
Instead of coddling the only girl, they pushed me to want to be better every single day. We'd compete, compete, and compete some more. My twin brother and I raced on foot, on bikes, on scooters, on anything we could get our hands on. He wouldn't let me win just because I was a girl. But it wasn't all about competition. My two older brothers also served as my mentors. They both took the time to work with me on my soccer and basketball skills, without being asked. They told me exactly where to place my hands on the basketball to nail the perfect jump shot. They modeled how to juggle the soccer ball with my thighs, feet, and head so that I could regularly break my juggling record. They taught me work ethic. Because of their lessons, I eventually craved the time to practice — and probably wouldn't have played college sports without their initial guidance.
And when I didn't feel like playing sports with the boys, I learned to enjoy the my own company. I didn't need anyone else to have fun! As a child, I was content playing independently. When I was younger, I'd sit in my room making up stories with my Barbies. As I got older, I loved to read or write in a journal as I sprawled out on my bed. The fact that I didn't have a sister to play with never even crossed my mind. And over the years, I made some solid female friends who are still in my life today. So even now, I don't dream about having a sister to share this adult life with.
Today, my brothers and I group-text each other almost daily. We send around funny texts, GIFs, life updates (both the good and the bad), and more. But most importantly, we're there for one another through everything. Our father is aging and my mother endured advanced cancer a few years ago. Despite the fact that I'm the only one who lives in the same state as our parents, they stepped up to help. They flew home to be with our parents and to help my load. We carried each other through that difficult time. Although my brothers didn't know exactly how to deal certain things, we all helped each other tremendously — and I'll always be grateful that I can count on them.
Despite never having a sister to trade clothes with or help me out with boyfriend problems, I never wished my family looked different. Besides, I figured all of the girl stuff out either on my own, with the help of my mom and friends, or believe it or not — with the help of my brothers. Even after all this time, I'd never in a million years trade one of those knuckleheads in.