To my baby brother, Joshua,



An open letter to baby brother, Joshua,

When you were born, nothing could have been more beautiful. I mean, you probably could have been. Newborn babies look like tiny, wrinkly aliens, and you were no exception. The beautiful part of your birth was not your purple toes and fingers or the squealing screeches you let out. To me, you were beautiful because in an instant you were my friend.

When we brought you home everything changed. My bedroom moved into the basement. I spent my nights waking up each time I heard you crying through the vent between our rooms. I began living my life to the rhythm of the steps you were just learning to take and to the tune of your laughter that echoed off the walls.

You changed my life in so many ways, so many beautiful and heartbreaking ways. Hearing you cry was like the climactic descent of a movie, a tragedy of sound, to me, who wanted nothing more, than to hear your laughter. The sound of your laugh taught me what it truly means to feel joy. My laugh today is so much stronger, so much fuller of heart and love, and I have you to thank for that.

Being your big sister has taught me so much about what it means to really care for someone, to love deeply and widely.

Joshua, you infuriate me. Constantly. You can be absolutely the most obnoxious, thoughtless, little boob that I have ever met. But our lives are also full of moments of friendship and kindness, and no matter what I may say to you, I promise I see you. I see your heart. I know who you are, and I truly believe that you are and can be so wonderful.

Joshua, you have given me so much happiness. Here are some lessons I hope I can give you:

Your life is your choice.

 The world is scary. It is full of people that are going to make you feel less than you are. The world is going to tell you, you are not good enough. It is your choice whether or not it is right.

Your feelings are valid.

Be strong and cry often. Your emotions are your strengths. Your capacity to connect and care is invaluable. The world will tell you it is weakness, but I swear to you, compassion is strength. Empathy is power.

Your love is fair.

 Even if it seems like no one will understand, never punish yourself for loving anything. One day, all of the people that laughed at you and let their fear dictate their happiness will look at the love you refused to deny yourself, and they will regret letting their inhibitions drive them.

Joshua, if there is one thing I can give you, let it be this. Live your life. Your life. Make your own decisions. Seek understanding, but decide what you believe. Live authentically. Some people in this world will choose to cave only because standing alone can seem impossible. I am asking you to believe in the strength of your own moral compass. Do not blindly follow anyone. Your heart may deceive you at times, but please follow it, eventually it will set itself right.

To my baby brother, Joshua, when you were born, nothing could have been more beautiful. I love you.

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