Siblings; Friends or Foes?

January 27, 2013 6:42 pm

Before I had a sibling, I desperately wished for one – a sister to be precise. But I never got my wish. At the age of four my mother gave birth to a boy, which was something I had not prepared for at all. Suddenly, I wanted nothing more than to be an only child again, with all the love and attention wholly to myself. Selfish, I know, but what do you expect from a four-year old?

The four-year age gap between myself and my brother has always presented a problem in terms of being friends. For example, when I was six and he was two, I wanted to play with my toys, but he, would much rather put them in his mouth (mouth is the safest option I have gone with here, there were other places he liked to put them too). Or how about when I was thirteen and he was nine? I wanted to spend all my time with my friends… unfortunately, so did he. Incessantly following us around my house when they came for dinner, annoying me more then anything! At one of my birthday parties he was so desperate for attention from the ‘big kids’, that he pulled my trousers down in front of everyone! I think in that moment, I have never hated someone so much.


His teenage years were equally something of a rough patch for us. Getting himself into fights, in trouble at school – he was so four years ago to me. I was now nearly eighteen and his rebellion made me cringe, especially as I was the one he loved to tell his stories to. ‘Little boys, trying to be grown up’ I would think to myself, forgetting that not long before I had been exactly the same (perhaps not to the same extent… I have always been the good child after all!).

But then something changed – I went to university and moved away. I’m not sure if it was the move precisely that shifted the dynamics of our sibling relationship, or if perhaps our four-year age gap had finally evened itself out. Either way something permanently altered, to an extent where we (dare I say it) actually liked one another. He is no longer that annoying child who wanted nothing more than to be near his older sister, he is an actual human being with opinions and ideas of his own.

Don’t misunderstand me, we still argue; but these arguments are different from the full-scale fist fights we used to have. These seem like competitive banter more than anything else. We regularly play a game that we like to call ‘Life Achievements’; in this game we must fire things we have accomplished in our lives at each other in order to out do the other one, thereby successfully proving that oneself is the better child. In playing this game, my brother brings up a talent that I cannot compete with – he is practically a musical protégé. I call him this in a mocking manner most of the time, but there is honestly not a hint of resentment behind it. At sixteen he is an accomplished guitarist and has already played at the Royal Albert Hall in front of thousands of people (something I never tire of telling people!). He is forever being praised by other artists and this is something that I am ridiculously proud of. I feel nothing short of elated when I see someone approach to compliment him after a performance and even more so when I hear people exclaim ‘I cant believe he’s only sixteen!’. I admit that I know very little about music, but when I see him play I can tell he has an unprecedented talent. (I often well up, seeing him perform as well, but I would never let him know that!)

It is strange to think that a person who caused me so many problems as a child has become the person I am most proud of in my life. He adores me, but then I suppose he always did; Younger siblings do adore their older siblings and I think this is what annoys said older sibling. The younger looks up the older at a time when the older is not done growing up themselves. Now that I am, grown, I can appreciate what it means to have a brother. Obviously, everyone’s experience with their siblings are different but I for one cannot imagine being without mine. My friends tell me that, on one drunken occasion, I exclaimed that I would like my brother to be my Maid of Honour when I got married. A humorous thought, but one that got me thinking none the less. How can it be, that someone I so ardently disliked, has now become, quite possibly, my best friend?

%d bloggers like this: