If you have a little brother, then you know that I’m about to gush. If you don’t, get one. They’re out there, waiting for your big sistering. Today is this my little brother’s birthday. I remember this day as an Easter weekend, and I was at my grandmother’s while my mom and dad stayed home and waiting for the baby to come. Waaaay back then, we didn’t know if it would be a boy or a girl. It would be a surprise. But I was hoping, so hard, for a little brother. Why!? I have no idea. It never occurred to me that having a sister would be cool, or that my mom was likely not having any more children and this would be my last change to bond with someone of the same sex. My 6 year old intuition told me I.wanted.a.brother. The phone rang on that bright Spring day, my grandmother answered, then smiled down at me and said, “You have a baby brother.” I was elated! I jumped up and down, and, to this day, it is one of my happiest memories. Now, 36 years later, he has been my joy, my pain-in-the-butt, my laughter, my frustration, my heart, and sometimes a combination of them all, every day since.

Sistering is an important job, is not something you have to be born into it, and we’re all obligated to it.?#?moregoodmen? come from a world where they are respected and taught to respect women. We can each create that world and have these opportunities every day. It just so happens that mine was handed to me in the form of this sweet little face, but I find brothers wherever and whenever I can. They are the guys in your classroom, the colleagues in your office, the men where you serve as a volunteer. They have many of the same struggles, questions, and hazards on the path of their journey as we do. Where we are different, we can find understanding. Where we are the same, we can find connections. Where we come together, we can shift the needle toward change and equity.  

Thanks, little brother, for letting me boss you and hug you, dress you up and let you fall. I know that being my experiment in how men and women journey together in this great big world wasn’t always fun, and that your more-good-man-ness wasn’t all me, but I’m grateful for you and all the good men that exist because you do.

“What the world needs now is liberated men who have the qualities Silverstein cites, men who are ’empathetic and strong, autonomous and connected, responsible to self, to family and friends, to society, and capable of understanding how those responsibilities are, ultimately, inseparable.'” Bell Hooks, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love


2 thoughts on “Sistering Brothers”

  1. Avatar
    Gayle Johnson

    I have to say that I loved reading about your brother. I have a little brother that flies 500 miles to help me with my honey bees. Our visits have been the highlight of my summers. He also likes to visit my home when I travel at Christmas – and just enjoys the quiet. Our relationship has gotten much stronger since we are both single in our later years. As my mother often told me, “be nice to him because someday he will be all that you have left of family.” I always introduce him as my “little brother” because that defines us and our relationship. Thanks you for your note.

    1. Avatar

      Thank you, Gayle! Siblings are so important. I’m happy to read that you have a good man in your brother, too!

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