After a long, hot day in San Miguel de Allende, we all sat quietly on the hour long trek home. My nine year old brother, Tyler, had just purchased his first piece of art; a brightly colored painting of a dog eating a hot dog inscribed with the words "Dog Eat Dog." As I observed him holding his new prize and nodding off to sleep, I was overcome with love for this boy.
He is the resident noise maker. He and I argue several times in a typical day due to my intolerance and his decade old belief that he knows everything. It is petty and we usually hug and make up five minutes after our little tiffs, but we are still a disturbance to the rest of the family. Though I am often frazzled by his dynamic being, I have to believe it is my own hold-ups that produce our many conflicts, it is, after all, extremely immature for me to be feuding with someone 12 years my junior.
Despite his many efforts (intentional and non) to get under my skin, I must acknowledge that he is one of the most compassionate, alive, and fearless people, of any age, I have ever met. He is incredibly in tune to the needs of others and as the men of our family have left, he has picked up the slack. He voluntarily hugs all of the women in the family each morning, and relentlessly offers his help. He has a hard time concentrating on school work yet somehow manages to have an extremely advanced vocabulary and way of speaking. Because he is tall for his age and most of the nine year old Mexican boys come up to his waist in height, he has been hanging out with many 15 and 16 year olds. I watch him as he effortlessly deflects their teasing and mockery because he is confident in his greatness.
When he laughs, you simply can't resist laughing with him. Though his stories are long-winded diatribes about cartoons or construction work, when he ends a story with his contagious giggle, as he often does, it is nearly impossible not to be filled with joy.
Even in the face of all of our disagreements, he is my little brother. I love him and feel immensely privileged to be able to interact with such a special person on a daily basis. Everyday, his incredible curiosity, kindness, imagination, and strength of character inspire me to be a better person.