I’m incredibly close with my brother who is 32 months younger than me. But we weren’t always close. When my mom was pregnant, she asked me what I wanted. I wanted a sister. When she called from the hospital to tell me I had a brother, I hung up on her. And then I didn’t speak to her for a week. It pretty much took until he was 17 and I was 19 for us to be in a room together without the imminent possibility of violence on at least one of our parts.
The first person I remember consciously loving was my cousin, Leah. I was four when she was born. She was born in September and I remember that shortly after I got to fly with my Mom to meet her in Pittsburgh and that was it, I loved her. Sometime that year, they came down to visit and my Mom and I took Leah for a walk in her stroller while she told me that she and my dad were splitting up. I remember two things about that walk; first that we walked into a block party and that I didn’t want anyone to see me crying, and second I hoped that Leah would never, ever have to feel like I did at that moment.
That walk changed my life forever but what it didn’t change was how I felt about Leah. I still feel that way about her. I feel fiercely protective of her, much the same way I do about Erin.