You’re the soul who understands
The scars that made me who I am
Through the drifting sands of time
I got your back and you got mine
I am an older sibling.
When my little brother was born, the story goes that I, very quickly into the proceedings, asked my parents: Cool. When does he go back?
Oh, I turned into a right little terror about it. My favorite example of my petulant acting out is that I would stick my little three-year-old paws into the fish bowl, and throw the fish rocks down on to the kitchen floor.
My reluctance about being an older sibling continued into my older years. When my brother wanted to tag along with me to our neighbors’ houses, I balked. I was already such a loser, such a fucking dork in comparison with my cool neighbor friends with their trampoline and their pool and their NAPSTER, AM I RIGHT?!
I couldn’t show up with my little brother.
(I wasn’t always a complete monster. My favorite memories of me and my brother as kids involve quoting old SNL sketches, me reading Calvin & Hobbes out loud to him… as teenagers, me being excited to introduce him to Chuck Klosterman… as adults, getting doughnuts and screeching about Star Wars.)
(I don’t want to tell all our stories. They are not exclusively mine to tell.)
Where I’m going with this is I finally got around to watching Onward on Disney+ the other day, and literally as soon as it ended, I burst into tears and texted my little brother.
There are a lot of things I would re-do about my life if I could. For example, I might have taken Chorus instead of Acting sophomore year, because Mr. Cate was an abusive asshole, and Ms. Spears was an actual angel. I would have kissed a girl sooner, for sure for sure.
But I would have been a better older sibling first. I would have been more like Barley Lightfoot in Onward. I would have been weird and embarrassing and effusive in my praise, and I would have realized that part of becoming comfortable in my own skin sooner than I did would have meant that I could have encouraged you to be comfortable in yours. I would have never made you feel ashamed of who you are, because I would have championed you always always always. As you have always deserved to be.
Because you’re the coolest person I know, and I am so fucking proud of you.
The last best day I had before All of This went down was when we were at Hollywood Studios. And it wasn’t even when we were doing any of the amazing Galaxy’s Edge stuff. It was when we were in line for Star Tours, being tall, loud, blonde weirdos and cracking each other up about how bad Rise of Skywalker was.
People say how much we look alike, and I hope you know how much that makes me happy.
It’s supposed to be the older sibling who looks out for the younger sibling, but you have had my back like no one else ever has. You, soulful, sensitive, thoughtful, observant, talented little brother: you have always made sure that I knew how proud you were of me.
And there’s maybe no one from whom that sentiment means more.
I’m sorry I ever suggested sending you back. There’s no world worth exploring without you in it, favorite person.
I want to see a lot of you right now. I miss you all so much. But, make no mistake, I hope I get to see Matt first. Because it’s never too late to be the kind of person you want to be. To be the older sibling you want to be.
(I’m going to get a weird, old, unicorn-painted van one day, and I’m going to take you everywhere you want to go.)
‘Cause you carried me with you
From the highest of the peaks
To the darkness of the blue
I was just too blind to see
Like a lighthouse in a storm
You were always guiding me
Yeah, it’s true
You carried me with you
(Lyrics: “Carried Me With You” by Brandi Carlile.)