10 years ago today my little brother was born. He has been a bright light in my life ever since, he entered my life at a time I needed him most. I was 15 years old when he was born, but turned 16 later that year. I was struggling with depression at the time, and he gave my life a bigger purpose. My parents were addicted to the casino… my mom still is, R.I.P to my stepdad. After my brother was born my mother wanted to continue to go to the casino, but my stepfather didn’t want to leave my brother alone so they were going to ask a friend to babysit. I was present during the conversation and chimed in saying I could watch my brother since I didn’t want him to be at a stranger’s house. In retrospect it wasn’t a stranger’s house, but I knew the lady and her kids and it was not a safe environment. Although I was 15 years old with not much experience I had already been caring for my younger brother since I was 11 years old while he was 4 years old. I knew what my mom did when feeding him and putting him down to sleep so I didn’t think it would be that hard and it was for the night because my parents would be home by the morning since my brother and I had school the next day.
My biggest fear was something happening to my baby brother who didn’t deserve to be treated that way. He was innocent, pure and brand new to the world and already being neglected. I stepped in and fed him when he was hungry, when he continued to cry I checked his diaper and then would hold him and rock him back and forth until he fell asleep. I knew I needed my sleep too, but I didn’t sleep instead I stayed up all night making sure he was okay because I was scared he might wake up and I wouldn’t wake up. When it came to the next morning and getting ready for school, my parents would be late and disregard the fact that my brother and I both had school. So if they weren’t home by 7:30am I would send my brother off to walk to school; his walk was 15 minutes allowing him time to get to school and talk to friends and etc. Then I would have to wait until my parents came home before I could leave to go to school. This happened more than I’d like to admit and it would result with me yelling at my parents for never getting home on time and for continuing to go to the casino when they should both be home with their kids. As a result I would get yelled at for not “respecting my parents.” This continued for the rest of our childhood (mine and my siblings) except when he had vacations from school because that’s when he would come and stay with my fiance and I.
We worked on parenting him, mostly me since I’m his older sister and have taken this role upon myself so my youngest brother wouldn’t have the same childhood our brother and I had. There’s plenty more of this to tell, but we’ll fast forward to now my stepfather passed away last year and it was agreed if he passed away due to multiple health issues my brothers would be in my custody and I would continue to raise him. I’m 25 years old raising my now 10 year old brother with my fiance. It’s not a journey I would have imagined for myself, but I don’t regret one moment of it. My brother deserves the world and I’m happy to be able to provide what I can for him.
He doesn’t know it yet, but he entered my life where I questioned my purpose and felt like I didn’t matter. I felt sad and hopeless, he gave my life purpose and motivated me to do better for myself and for him since our home life wasn’t the best.
My brother had a wonderful day being celebrated and surprised with a cake and presents and lots of love!