Today, my brother Kai is 15 years old. He was born on September 14, 2001, a few days after 9/11. He is my younger, but oldest brother. Almost 6 feet tall. A freshman in high school. I haven’t seen much of him lately because he’s back at home and I’m here in college a few short hours away.

When I think about my childhood, I can remember Kai playing with me and my dolls. Not because he liked dolls, but simply because I demanded that he played with me. I demanded that he watched The Fox and The Hound, Barney, Rush Hour 2, and Big Clifford over and over again with me. He never said no, even when he did not want to do something. He was always the one making sacrifices for me at the early ages of three and four years old. We are 3.5 years apart in age. And he has always been kind, smart, funny, lovable, quiet, energetic.

I was not as good to him, though. I treated him badly growing up. I never put him before me. And I have guilt about that now. I know I was the bossy older sister (and in most ways, I still am). I went from being the only child, to having a little brother. It was something that I did not understand at the time. And I think I never accepted it. So as time passed, and I got older, I held a growing resentment towards my brother. He did nothing wrong to me ever. To this very day, I still do not understand why I felt this way about him. He showed me so much kindness. No matter how many fights I provoked or how many moments I presented a sense of entitlement. He embodied grace. And for that reason, he has taught me so much about life and about the treatment of other people at my expense.14344071_1406095572737176_8305341614570560529_n10556378_833928636658880_7075010557289441177_n11947424_877009105710904_2237493515181090964_n10580809_809082575810153_4915917062769054421_o

I love him to death and I hope he can forgive me for the times that I was not loving towards him when we were younger.

He is growing up and it is bittersweet. He will always be one of my greatest teachers. He is my keeper.Have a happy birthday, Kai. I hope you get everything you want out of life. If anyone deserves it, it’s you.