My little brother is visiting us this week. I haven’t really seen my brother away from home, ever. I’ve only ever spent time with him in the scenery of our childhood home, where he is a most relaxed non-adult (playing games, watching TV).
I’m shocked by how mature he is. Sure, he’s almost 23 now and he most likely believes he’s an adult like all 23 year olds believe they are when they’re really not… but my brother is actually behaving like an adult, unlike most 23 year olds.
I’m used to my brother asking me for help with the usual adult things; things like doing taxes, booking trips, applying to classes, calling the Visa company (he really did ask me once how to call the Visa company…). This was when I was still living in Vancouver and still just a half hour trip away from home.
One of the only things that made leaving Vancouver difficult was having to leave my brother. I felt that I was leaving him alone to “brave the adult world” on his own with no help. TubHubs often says I coddle my brother. I feel that I need to at least be available because I knew how terrifying it is to grow up without an adult you can go to for questions, or even just have a person to go to to affirm that you’ve made the right choices for yourself.
I was that person for my brother. He told me everything about his life and asked for my advice on life choices. He relied on me to help him navigate the tricky years between being a teenager with no responsibilities and becoming an adult who has to deal with his own shit. I like being that person.
Having my brother here this week, I’ve already seen various instances of things he’s already done that he normally would have asked my help for.
I don’t feel that I’ve “lost” anything. I just feel proud. In place of being the person that he expects to help him with everything, I’m now just the person he asks for advice from. I remember the last time he called me about something. He started the conversation with this line: “I already know what I want to do in this situation, so I don’t want you to convince me otherwise. I just need to talk about it because I don’t know how to feel about it.”
The emotional maturity of that statement really threw me, at the time. He knew when he had gone beyond the point of needing my influence, and he told me this clearly. He then told me, clearly, that he needed to talk to me about it because he needed help understanding how he feels.
I have no idea where the time has gone. There is a series of photos of him when he was 2 years old. He’s standing in diapers in front of a book case, his hair is everywhere. In the first of the series, he’s scratching his head. In the photos following, his expression changes from curiosity to a open smile as he stumbles towards the photographer.
I took those photos on a Sunday afternoon, out of boredom. They’re still my favorite pictures of him.