This article is dedicated to the person whom I consider to be my first best friend. The person who introduced me to video games and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The person who teased me throughout my whole childhood and thought tripping me was the funniest thing on the planet. The one who would play outside with me for hours on end and then watch the same movie with me over and over again. The one who, not until recently, I realized actually loves and cares about me more than I thought possible (I always thought he hated me lol). And the one whose birthday is today: my big brother.
In a lot of Hollywood movies, they frequently depict a family with an older sister and a younger brother; the little brother is usually super annoying and the big sister might enjoy dressing him up like a girl. That’s just one example of a stereotypical relationship they show between a brother and a sister; for me however, my relationship was the little sister and big brother. So instead of a big brother dressing up his little sister as a boy, my brother made me more so act like a boy. What I mean by that is, playing video games was one of my favorite things to do, I thought Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Power Rangers were so cool, and I was (still am) obsessed with the Lord of the Rings. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a pretty girly person, but they should also know all the “boy-ish” type of things that my brother influenced me to like. All thanks to him I am in love with movies like Avengers, X-men, The Dark Knight, and Star Trek. I still have my Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! playing cards and honestly still think they’re pretty awesome. And if I was actually any good, I would play video games all the time. When I was younger, because I thought my brother was the coolest person on the planet (and because I really wanted him to like me), I had to become interested in the things he liked. Needless to say, that plan worked out pretty well. As much as little kid Landon would probably deny it, I think he was pretty happy to have me around.
Trying to be friends with my brother, as his little sister, wasn’t always easy though; it was hard work. Like all big brothers, he can act like a total jerk and a lot of the times is just that. Boys are mean and my brother is no exception. Landon sometimes comes with a short fuse and it’s hard to tell when he’ll get annoyed with me and shun me away. That is why, through the years, I have perfected the amount of interaction and questions that can be asked before I reach the point of annoyance. It’s truly an art form. But something that many people may not know about Landon, is that he is nothing less than a big teddy bear. He acts all tough, hard, and macho on the outside, and not to say he isn’t those things, but he has the sweetest heart I have ever encountered. Out of our family he is the most kind, the most selfless, and possibly even the most emotional. He hides it well by sometimes being a jerk and also by being very funny, but altogether he’s a secretly complex amazing human being.
Not until recently have I been able to experience that side of him for a longer period of time than what I am used to. What usually occurs with my brother is that I only get a small blurb of his sweetness here and there, and then his hard exterior will return and close him off. One moment I remember so clearly because it was so unexpected, was on the evening of my first prom. He had just gotten home from work, right at the time that I was all dressed up and ready to go. He called me into the kitchen, gave me the tightest hug, and with tear-filled eyes told me how beautiful I looked. He released me from his grasp and turned his face so I couldn’t see his eyes, which gave me the perfect opportunity to wipe my tears as well. Afterwards, we played it off real cool and casual and went on with our nights. It is tiny moments like that, where he breaks down his walls and lets me in for a second, that I appreciate the most. But since I have been away for college, those moments have become more frequent. For the most part they aren’t emotional, but they are moments that I get to experience the big brother that is so vital to my life. It can be as minor as a simple text or snapchat, just a small gesture to show me that he’s thinking of me. If I didn’t know any better, I would say I think he might miss me sometimes.
Landon has a very unique way in which he shows his love. It’s incredibly subtle and also rare, but that’s what makes it so powerful. Perhaps these examples may sound unsubstantial, but to me they speak volumes. This past summer, my family and I attended a family friend’s wedding and because of certain circumstances, me and my brother were each other’s dates. I’m an absolute sucker for a wedding and will literally cry throughout the whole thing, but what surprised me were my brother’s visual emotions. During the bride and groom’s first dance, Landon pulled me in close to him and squeezed my hand real tight. It was a small gesture, but told me exactly what I needed to know. The next day, he posted a picture of me and him from the wedding on Instagram. The caption? A single world emoji. At first I didn’t understand it, but suddenly it clicked. In the simplest way possible he was claiming that I am his world. It meant so much to me to see that and I would be lying if I said tears didn’t fill my eyes. Because Landon rarely shows the sweet and loving side of him, and more so resides on the annoying sometimes jerk-like persona, something as subtle as those moments are that much more special and mean everything to me.
Having a big brother is an extremely special gift, but having my big brother is an even better gift. My brother brought much happiness to my childhood, taught me how to be silly and taught me how to play. He helped me learn how to appreciate the small moments and the depth of his heart that he seldom shows. He reflects my father in so many ways and exemplifies the qualities that I will look for in the man I marry one day. I am blessed beyond words to have a brother that cares for me the way that he does and who inspires me to be as kind and selfless as he is. He keeps our family laughing and reminds us not to take things too seriously. And without a doubt, our family is so much better because he is in it.
Landon, I now speak directly to you. Happy Birthday! Thanks for introducing to me to my favorite film series, letting me watch you play video games, teaching me how to be silly, and never failing to make me laugh. Thank you for all our movies dates, for being the big brother every little girl needs, for being confident in me as I went to college, and loving me in the special way only you know how. Today is your day, and I hope it has made you feel as special as you are to all the people you encounter. I love you!