For me, the best part of my childhood was sharing it with my older brother. Although we were three years apart and had different interests as kids (I loved my Care Bears and he collected Magic: The Gathering cards), when it came to playing together, we always managed to find common ground. From classics like Candy Land and Monopoly, to Nintendo hits like Duck Hunt and Super Mario Brothers, I knew I could always count on my big bro to be my game partner. We were also great at recreating scenes from our favorite movies, like 3 Ninjas (anyone else remember Rocky's epic dunk?), and inventing fantastical adventures for his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures. He would even include me when his cute friends came over, which made me feel so cool. Plus, I knew I could count on him to lend a hand with my homework and stick up for me whenever I had a problem with bullies.
But as an adult, I value his support even more. Having someone who completely understands how you're feeling and what you're going through (like when our grandparents died) is such a blessing. It's also reassured me that when the day comes when we lose our parents, as utterly devastating as it will be, we'll be lucky enough to have each other to lean on.
Through the years, we have seen each other grow up, get married, and start our own families. When my young daughter was battling with depression, I was heartbroken, but my brother was there for me through it all. And when his son was diagnosed with ADHD, I was there to offer him reassurance that everything was going to be okay. We have always had each other's backs, and always will.
I admit that I worried our close childhood relationship would fade with time. To a certain extent, I suppose it has. But while we no longer wake up early on Saturdays to watch our favorite cartoons together, my brother is still one of the first people I text when I want advice, need a venting session, or have a funny moment to share. We have countless inside jokes and, more importantly, so much dirt on each other. It's ridiculous. It's also the best.
Many people, including our family and friends, have commented on how lucky my brother and I are to have remained close throughout the years. They often ask us what our secret is, but there really isn't one. To us, there is nothing more special than family. I ended up with two daughters and my brother ended up with two sons. Our children see how my brother and I are always there for one another, in good times and in bad, and it is our hope that they too will have the same type of special relationship with their sibling for the rest of their lives.
Out of all of the many wonderful blessings my parents have given me, my brother is the best one. Our relationship is like no other. And I'll forever be grateful.