My little brother, Jace, is almost a full foot taller than me. He has a voice like James Earl Jones. He smells like a dumpster if he forgets to wear deodorant, and his resolution to forgo shaving for the summer has resulted in the world's smallest, scraggliest beard.
As far as brother/sister relationships go, ours is pretty good. We went to see Star Trek. We know all the words to Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" (the clean version). He farts; I hit him.
Pretty standard. Nothing to complain about.
We weren't always so peaceable, though. Well, he was. I was conniving and manipulative.
Not only was I a mean sister, but I was a smart mean sister. That's a disastrous combination.
I would plot ways to get him in trouble that no one could trace back to me.
One Halloween, I even stole his Halloween candy while he slept, then sold it back to him for cash.
Horrible, I know.
Something changed when we adopted Levi. I realized that I was a saint to Levi and treated Jace like dirt. I'm not sure that at thirteen I quite knew what inconsistency was, but I comprehended enough to try and mend my behavior.
Over the years, we've grown closer (now that I'm no longer trying to torture him). But there's still a gap. This could just be the natural maturity-difference between a 19-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy.
My small group at church is reading a book about how Christian girls should interact with Christian guys called It's (Not That) Complicated. I was the first to make fun of this book.
I thought that the last thing I needed was guy advice. Imagine my surprise when one of the first areas of focus in the book was brothers. The authors were introducing revolutionary ideas like respecting your brother, caring about the things your brother cares about (Minecraft? Modern Warfare?!), and allowing him to be a leader in your relationship.
How can our brothers grow into godly men like the ones we'd want to marry if we never let them be the leaders God intended them to be?
Needless to say, I'm no longer cracking jokes about "the book."
I've tried some of the suggestions. I asked him to teach me to play Minecraft (UGH), and talked to him about church camp. I let him choose where we eat lunch. We discuss how his first year in marching band is going.
I still don't have that unbelievably close, thick-as-thieves relationships with my brother yet.
But I'm hoping that these seeds I'm planting now will grow into a beautiful relationship later.