Giving up my time for my brother was, is, and will always be worth it


Ashley Johnson

Theodore Johnson is my 2 year old brother (I just call him Teddi) and this article is all for him :)

For those who don’t know, I have a 2 year old brother named Teddi. He is my brother on my dad’s side, and I only get to see him on the weekends. Recently this year in my family, there has been twists and turns, but the one thing that I thought would put more stress onto all of the already piling pressure turned out to be my greatest learning lesson and best friend (who can barely understand me), Teddi.

Me with Teddi the day he was born (March 4th, 2019) (Ashley Johnson)

Teddi is a unique little boy. There are so many things that I learn about him each time I am with him. At the start of this school year, my brother needed someone to start watching him from Thursday all the way through the weekends, and ultimately I was put to the task since I visit my dad just about every weekend anyways, and finally had a car and could drive to be there on Wednesday nights. So, for this entire year, I have been doing just that. Every Wednesday, traveling over an hour to my dad’s to watch my brother.

Of course, I would have loved the opportunity to come back to school in person. I liked the idea of being able to feel like I was a part of something again, and that I could see more people than the one’s in my house. When the opportunity then came to our school in January towards the beginning of the third quarter, I was excited for everyone, and also, a little bit cautious naturally.

Through that time, though, I still had to continue to care for Teddi. Many of my friends and people I knew from school would ask me “Where have you been?” and “Why not at school?” and all that every time we would catch up. It always pulled on my heartstrings a little, because I would love to be there with them and experience the last little bit of my high school career at the building. The opportunities to experience a “normal” senior year at the school tempted me every day. Even some of my teachers had reached out to me and expressed that they wished I was in the building to learn. This article is to let every single one of them know that I would have really loved to, and I always said it was my mom telling me and my sisters to stay home, which I mean, it mostly was, BUT it was also the fact that I was and am constantly caring for my brother. And now, I wouldn’t really have it any other way.

I am a big advocate on sports, and I try to teach my brother about playing them. My goal is to one day enroll my brother in a sport and pay for all of his equipment (as well as being his biggest fan!) (Ashley Johnson)

Sure, it was hard. I can say it was hard because I am literally writing this on the last day of school. But yes, it was hard keeping up with everything and caring for my brother alone all day long, even while in class. Most days, I would be cooking food for a crying baby while trying to actively participate in class and find time to do my work without worrying about what mess Teddi was making in the other room. Some days, he made guest appearances like a celebrity on my zoom camera, which always was a fun time. Most people didn’t realize though how hard it really was trying to keep up with the overload of work the last half of the school year brought and a tumbling two year old who cries if you even look at him the wrong way.

Many days were spent just like this, with me looking a mess from being up since 6 am with him waiting for my classes to begin. (Ashley Johnson)

There were times I would express how hard it was to my teachers, and to my mom. It got harder to express those feelings when it started influencing my mom to think about not letting me go to care for my brother since it took away so much time during the weekends for school work. I somehow realized then that I needed to care more for Teddi than I did living out my desire to go back to the building. The sound of not being able to watch my brother and spend that little time that I truly have with him made me work as hard as I could to keep up, just so that I could make sure I wasn’t taken away from what I deem as my “sisterly duties.”

So Teddi, maybe many years from now you might see this, but watching over you has been my true honor as your oldest sister, and an experience that I would never trade for anything. I’m glad I could graduate as a successful senior and your mid week to weekend caretaker, which will always be my best senior memory. It has taught me so much as a person and given me a deeper purpose, one that I hope influences you to help other people in the future as well. I look forward to this summer watching you and balancing work and college planning at the same time, you really are giving me a run for my money!

You are very important to me, and I hope I am helping to make you a better person. (Ashley Johnson)