Stuck with me

A not-so-little little brother

I clearly remember the day my little brother was born: Jan. 1, 1994. One of my favorite family photos shows me snuggling with my mother in the hospital bed, happy but blissfully unaware of the small, sleeping baby in the background.

I stayed with my grandparents for the weekend of my brother’s delivery, excited about my new sibling but not yet aware of what having a little brother would mean. I didn’t truly realize what was going on until we were in the hospital room at Duke University — coincidentally, the same room in which I had been born two years earlier.

When I looked at my brother for the first time, I felt a mixture of passive interest and curiosity. He was born with pneumonia and was placed in a little incubator, his small toes and fingers twitching as he slept. I remember thinking something along the lines of, “This is it?” I thought it would be more exciting. Little did I know, that small, pink creature would grow up to be one of my favorite people in the world.

In reality, though I am two years older than my brother, I am more often than not the real baby in the family. I am extremely lacking when it comes to common sense. Instructions constantly confuse me and I frequently find myself totally baffled by things like knowing how to jumpstart my car or manage the storage settings on my iPhone.

That’s where Gibson comes in. The poor kid has had to guide me through more tasks than I would care to admit, but he never complains. Though I should probably be told to figure it out myself, he always comes through.

My brother embodies a lot of the ideals that I always tremendously admire in other people but have never been able to apply to my own life. In high school, while I was at home getting in trouble for drinking in the basement or failing another precalculus test, my brother was off at boarding school making straight-As and working toward his dream of playing college football.

Now that we are both students at U.Va., I am constantly humbled by his tireless efforts in his pre-med classes and dedication to his EMT duties. I’m envious of his ability to readily answer the ever-present, “What do you want to do with your life?” question at family gatherings. “Be a doctor,” he says — an undeniably solid answer juxtaposed with my shaky, “Well, I’m an English major, so…”

My brother truly is my best friend. No one understands me better or makes me laugh harder or makes me feel more proud, and there isn’t anyone else I would want stuck with me in our weird, crazy family.

This column may seem overly sentimental, but on this rainy and cold day in February, I would rather think about everything that makes me happy instead of reflecting on my lack of post-graduation plans or the various assignments I have yet to complete.

I’m thankful that I’ll always have my brother and my family by my side to support my neurotic self. I may not have a clear idea of where I’m headed, but they’re stuck with me (whether they like it or not).

Mimi’s column runs biweekly Wednesdays. She can be reached at

Published February 4, 2014 in Life

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