My big brother, Steve, has always loomed large in my life. He’s eight years older than I, and wow – I’ve grown up wanting to be just like him. And it is weird that two people in the same family would both have Ph.D.s in Rhetoric. That’s weird! But it makes for terrific dinner conversation.
He told me that I had to go to Bob Jones or he’d disown me. He was joking. But I didn’t know that. I hung on his every word. Visiting BJU to see him on T-giving and Easter and to see all his graduations was like going to a second home. I loved it. I loved everything about this place. All the boys. Wow – ALL the boys looked neat and clean and were polite. I had a crush on every single one that I saw. Every single one. I even married one that is probably the neatest one in the bunch. He’s so tidy!
My first semester Steve was on faculty. I tried NOT to hang on his arms like I was used to, but I so wanted to. I felt so proud to know that MY brother was still a BMOC and on faculty. I complained about the usual things that freshman complain about. He listened politely and comforted me through the throes of those first semester.
He married and moved to start his Ph.D. work when I became a sophomore, and I was really on my own. And in a way, that’s when I came into my own. I was away from that looming personality. I was myself.
And I finally got to be the bigger sister to my roommates. I pulled pranks on them. Hid teddy bears. Kidnapped baby blankets. Wrote ransom notes for beloved objects. Short-sheeted beds. Good stuff.
If I didn’t find myself though outside of my brother, I would have always stood in his shadow. Neither of us wanted that, but that’s still what would have happened. I would have always been just the little sister.
And now, I’m a sister. His peer. And I can spar with him like no other.