If I’m going to be honest, these letters are getting harder to write. It was so easy to put down what I wanted to say to Cait and Heinrich because they’re teenagers, and I see them every day, so I know them really well as people. Brianna’s was the first hard letter to write because there’s a lot that I want to say to her, but there is also a lot that I can’t necessarily put out there for the public eye to see. Your letter—I am already one-hundred-percent sure of this, and I still have to write Joanne’s—is going to be the hardest one I have to write.
I don’t remember many childhood memories of us together, but I don’t blame you for that. I get it; there’s a lot of years in between us. What I do have is a home video of basically the entire first year of my life, and you’re in it a lot. I also remember you practicing wrestling moves on me and Bri, and you and Timmy playing basketball in the front yard. I remember sneaking into your room and talking to Ryan while you’d shower downstairs, and when you guys took us to see The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie, before getting family pictures taken at Babies R Us.
That covers just about everything I remember on my own, besides the times I’d sleep over the places you and Ryan lived. Anything else I supposedly remember are things I’ve been told, and that kind of sucks, because you probably have memories that wouldn’t mean anything to me, if you’d mention them. Or maybe you don’t, I don’t know. For all I know, you probably have just as bad of a memory as I do—but something tells me that you don’t, because I’ve seen you watch Jeopardy. Your brain is freakishly sharp.
I know Ryan will read this (and she probably laughed at my last comment), but I don’t know if she is going to show this letter to you. She might, though. If she does, okay; and if she doesn’t, that’s okay, too. I don’t think any of this will be too hard to hear (see?).
Truth be told, I hate that our relationship isn’t what I hoped it would be. I always had this idea in my head that family was the most important thing, so all six of us kids would get together for holidays and birthdays and every other weekend for a Sunday dinner or something, like they do in movies and on TV. But this is reality, and Joanne moved to Florida, and you work insane hours, and nobody really goes out of their way to see anyone.
Which I guess is better than getting annoyed and going at each other’s throats, but it doesn’t suck any less.
My entire childhood, I really looked up you. Even though you didn’t go to college, you worked super hard, and did what you had to, to build a life for yourself. You and Ryan somehow managed to make a subpar home look picturesque, and then filled the bedrooms with three beautiful, spunky little girls. From the outside looking in, you have a perfect life.
How can I not look up to that? You seemed to achieve what most people want out of life. And yet, as much as I look up to you, I also feel bad for you. You fell in love, got yourself a great job, made adorable kids—it’s what dreams are made of. But I seriously don’t get how you can go from working all these insane hours to come home and be an active husband and dad.
I would be tired. All the time. I can’t even imagine how you manage to do it all.
So part of me gets why you don’t make the half-hour trip to see Mom. You have things to do around the house, and with the girls, that you just don’t really get enough time for much else. That is understandable. But I also think that you can find some time to go to her house every once in a while. That would make her happier than you realize. (Me too, because then I could walk right over.)
I wish I had more memories of you when I was little, and I wish I had some of you now. I say that because I realized at some point, not too long ago, that I don’t really know you as anything else other than a dad. And if I’m going to be honest, I hate that. You’re my big brother, so why do I not really know you as a person?
When someone asks me about you, I tell them what I know: you’re hilarious, you’re witty, you’re Mom’s Favorite, you love video games, and you’re a dad. That’s really all I have, but you’re three-dimensional. I’ve seen you angry, I’ve seen you cry, I’ve seen you be protective. You’re my big brother, and I love you, but sometimes, I feel like I don’t even know you. I want that to change.
But I would like to thank you. For being the one to pick me up from the high school during Nan’s last days. For bringing me home after that one blowout at Mom’s, but then talking to me about it before letting me get in the house. For being a good male role model in my life. For giving me a sister-in-law I can talk to, and showing me what a good husband looks like. For Lily, Kylie, and Riley, and showing me what a good dad looks like. For giving me someone to look up to, and for being someone that makes me to want to be smarter and work harder. Thank you for that.
Prompt: Do you have any siblings? For every sibling you have, write one letter to them per day. If you don’t have any siblings, write a letter to your parents about being an only child.