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I was not happy when my parents told me that they were expecting another child. In fact, I was furious. It had not even been two years since my sister, Samantha, had passed away and my parents had already decided to “replace” her with a newer version. They had told me that although my new sibling could never be a substitute for my sister it would help fill an empty part of our lives. I could not believe that at all.
How would I relate to a child that was 11 years younger than me and born during the worst period of my life?
On (REDACTED), the summer before I started middle school, Sam was born. When I first laid my eyes on him, the first thing I noticed was how wrinkly and gross he looked. Despite what people say newborns are not cute! Secondly, I came to the realization that I would have to take care of this slimy baby for the rest of my adolescent years.
My father works all day, while my mother was not in the right mental state to be able to take care of the young child by herself. I was forced to transition from being the younger sibling who lived in his sister’s shadow to become the role model that my younger brother desperately needed. It was absolutely terrifying.
Sam immediately changed everyone’s mood in the family. There was no time to pity or be depressed since we were all running around frantically to make sure Sam got what he needed.
At first, I was responsible for small things like holding him or reading him stories. I was initially annoyed by my newfound family responsibilities, but seeing the smile on his face after I would do something small like play peekaboo with him gave me so much joy. By the time Sam turned three and I was entering high school, I was looking after him for 3-4 hours a day while my mom was away. I would play with him, read with him, draw with him and even scold him. I was practically his third parent.
While I have tried to do a lot for Sam, I feel he has inadvertently returned the favor by teaching me lessons that could never be learned in school. He taught me to slow down and appreciate the little things in life: something as simple as a smile goes a long way. He taught me that to be a leader I must set good examples. My dad always said that if I work hard and do well in school my brother will follow my lead and do the same. I have seen this firsthand since my brother always seems to want to add and subtract when I am working on my calculus homework and now he wants to learn how we can talk to computers. Most importantly, Sam taught me that even during the most tragic parts of life it is absolutely necessary to not lose hope. While facing adversity is tough, life may bring you an unexpected angel.
I must admit that although Sam was my unwanted brother, he has truly become my closest friend. He single-handedly pulled me out a period of depression and made me mature at a rate much faster than my peers. In return, I have treated him like he was my child. No matter how old we get or how far we move apart, I hope our bond will grow even stronger. For me he will always be my little brother.
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