Growing Pains

“Hey Michael, go get me some milk!” a bossy 12-year-old-Robin chirped from in front of the living room television. This was not uncommon. In fact, as the middle sibling, I knew my rights to practice the skillful art of bossing that had been exercised on me for years. It was the natural order!

Dutifully, Michael slid his Bob-the-Builder-undied bottom down from his perch on top of the back of the leather sofa, and scampered toward the kitchen.

He reached the entryway, and that’s when he stopped. I looked at him. He pivoted to look at me with the bewildered self-actualization of one discovering their self-autonomy for the first time and said, “No… get your own milk!” And resumed his position on top of the back of the couch. I argued, relented, and sighed.

The jig was up. My baby brother wasn’t a baby anymore. He was growing up, and that meant fetching my own snacks from the kitchen. He was too smart for his own good. It happened so fast!

But as quickly as that moment came, nothing compares to the eye-blink seperating splitting a cookie-jar’s worth of Oreos together after a day of hide-and-seek and the moment Michael walked the stage a fully-graduated 18-year-old, 6’3″ human man last weekend.

(I swear I just picked him up from basketball practice… the hip older sister with a license who stops for ice-cream on the way home! What, he has his own license?! He’s driven himself to practice for years?! He buys his own ice-cream?! Someone, quick, make it stop!)

The get-your-own-milk moment isn’t when he stopped being a baby. This he-shaves-and-drives-and-is-gradating moment is, and realization hit me all over again two months ago when my mom asked me to shoot some senior photos.

There’s a lot I miss about being kids together, but as less of a Mom #2 and babysitter now and more of an equal, there’s a lot I love about my grown-up relationship with my brother, too. I couldn’t be more proud of his goals, dreams, sense of humor, and gentle heart. And I love him.

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