“There’s no other love like the love for a brother. There’s no other love like the love from a brother.”
When I was a little girl, I wanted a sister. She was supposed to be the same age as me and my best friend forever. Her name was supposed to be Zsuzsi. I dreamed of my sister, Zsuzsi, often.
But I guess you can’t always get what you want. Instead of a sister I got a little brother. Instead of a same-age best friend, I got a little boy who was 6 years younger than me. He cried through the night and I couldn’t sleep.
At one point, I wanted to exchange him.
But I loved him. I gave him my favorite toy—a Red Bear. That was probably the most selfless and loving act I have ever done for someone as it became his favorite toy and his best friend.
We didn’t get along for a long time. Apparently, I hid his dinosaurs when we were kids (though, as I recall, I was bullied into doing it by this big, mean girl in our neighborhood). We fought and yelled. He threw a battery at my forehead. He still thinks it was funny. I guess all siblings have stories like this.
We didn’t have the easiest childhood growing up in a dysfunctional and incredibly abusive household. When I was nearly 18, I left for the US with our mother and her new husband. He remained in Hungary with our father. While I was continued life in a dysfunctional household on a new continent before quickly leaving to be on my own and escape a “new family” that didn’t welcome me, my brother moved onto his teenage years under the very different, yet certainly dysfunctional, care of his father.
For some years, we didn’t even talk. I wrote him letters. He didn’t respond. Then we started speaking via online chat. When he turned 16, he sent some photos and I couldn’t recognize him. I got even more scared when I first heard his voice—it had changed into a man-voice.
He wasn’t a little boy anymore. I was scared. Who was this person? Did I still have a brother?
I went back for a visit. Though it was awkward at first, we started hanging out more. We grew closer and closer.
My brother and I are very different. He is quiet; I am a chatter-box. He keeps his emotions to himself; I wear mine on my sleeves. His life is always somewhat of a secret; mine is an open book. We both have our hurts and pains and problems, but we have dealt with them differently. Although I am the one who’s “into” holistic health, he has an easier time taking care of himself. We have different interests, different skills, different talents, and different dreams. We both want to be happy.
We both hate Christmas—likely because of our similar negative experiences. Yet, here I am, writing this piece as a Christmas gift.
Life is too short not to express our love. But it is difficult. In my culture we don’t say “I love you” at the end of each conversation like American families tend to.
My brother and I are different. We lived most of our lives on different continents. While I am here in Mexico, in the midst of my nomadic travels around the world, he is studying in China.
We have had every difficulty thrown in our way to make our lives more difficult. It wouldn’t be surprising if we had no relationship.
Yet we have the strongest bond ever. It is a bond that knows no distance, no time, and no boundaries.
My brother is the most important person in my life. I am so grateful for him. I am so proud of him. And, now, I know—it is okay that I never got that same-age sister, because I have the most amazing little brother.
I don’t say it enough. I may not say it ever. It may be weird to even say it, but—I love you, Andris. Now the whole world knows it. Thank you for being my brother.
(Photos provided kindly by author)