Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Thank the rock

When my brother was born, my sister and I each got new Barbie dolls at the hospital. At the time she was six-years-old, and I was four.  What I remember of that time was that my family was very excited, and I was confused as to why I wasn’t nearly as excited as they were. Standing with my grandmother in my living room, she said what everyone else had been saying, which was something along the lines of, “You’re getting a new baby brother soon! He’s going to be here any day now!”

Psychology books in high school told me that when a younger sibling is born, the older sibling is often jealous and feels neglected. At the time, my relatives expected me to be enthusiastic and overjoyed. As a kid I never really bought into the condescending, “Are you excited, little Katie? Oh, how exciting for you, huh?” so I always responded with an honest and unenthusiastic, “Sure.”

It’s funny that I didn’t feel excited, nor was I angry or jealous. To be honest, the only thing I was excited about that day was that I got a new Barbie.

Yet, as soon as my new sibling entered the house I quickly and naturally accepted him as my little brother, someone that I loved and wanted so badly to care for. Many of us love our family members unconditionally, but it seems that younger siblings have their own unique category within that circle of love.

I knew as soon as he was around that this kid had been struck with a likeable charm unlike anyone else I knew. In preschool, my mom picked him up only to find that one girl was buttoning up his coat, and another was holding his lunchbox for him. He had to repeat kindergarten because he was a little too social, explaining to my mom, “But mom, I can’t ignore the girls!”

Around third grade he opened up a lemonade stand with his best friend, Quinn, and came home to tell my mom that he made $50.  “Wow!” she said, “You and Quinn made $50?” He responded, “No, we made $100. I got $50.”

Something about that small freckly face has captured the hearts of many, though I believe that every family has someone like Michael.  He’s what I’d like to call the “rock” of my family – someone who strings everyone together.  Someone who has never caused a legitimate problem because they are too busy looking for the next way to make everyone laugh.  Someone that often goes unnoticed because of the chaos they never cause. Someone that always takes the middle seat in every car ride, someone that always does a favor no matter how ridiculous it may be, and someone that sees you’re frustrated or angry and gives you his last Halloween candy because he knows it will fix something.

I don’t think we give the rock as much credit as he deserves. It’s not our fault, either; it’s easy to take this person for granted. We often forget to thank people for the things that they don’t cause, rather than the things that they do.

My dad can sometimes get very flustered with technology – he can take three weeks to send an email. My sister, a sentimental girl, holds onto every old thing. Her room has quite the clutter. My mom can be a little untimely, and when asked when mom is coming home, a family member often replies, “Who knows, you know mom.” I also get flustered with technology, hold onto too many old things and have no real concept of time management.

My brother wakes up at 6:40 a.m., goes to school, comes home at 3 p.m., does his homework, plays hockey with his friends, eats dinner and is in bed by exactly 10 p.m.  Somewhere in between these easy to follow consistencies, he remembers to make fun of all of us, impersonate a teacher in a funny way, or helps to remember exactly where I put my cell phone which I have lost once again.

Everyone offers their own unique character to a family, but we often forget to thank the rock. I hope everyone can remember to thank that little brother who reminds us to laugh at ourselves every once and a while.

Katie McKenna is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at [email protected].


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