Last night my brother had a huge rivalry football game, and not only won, but was a catalyst in the offensive drive that won the game, and I couldn’t be there.
My brother and I have always been closer than most ‘brother/sister’ siblings we know. We still bicker, he still SUCKS at texting me back, and we’ve been known to fight a few times but he’s, hands down, always there for me.
When I made the decision to go to college 4 hours from home it definitely wasn’t an easy decision but I didn’t think it’d be as hard as it is sometimes. I’m at the awkward distance where I feel dumb for complaining that home is far away, but going home for a day isn’t something I can do, especially being an athlete myself.
I knew I would miss my parents, and my grandma’s house on Sunday, and car rides with my brother to get speedy freezes and sour gummy worms at 3am. I knew I’d miss Shepard’s Pie for dinner and my Tootie’s mashed potatoes, and going to my sister’s to lay around and watch tv with her and the pups. What I didn’t know, was how hard it would be to not be able to be there for and with my brother as he tackles high school.
Not necessarily studying (he still calls me and we do homework over FaceTime way more often than I would like), or girls (cause he’d never talk about that with me) or even friends (because he has that shit mastered more than I even will) but, more than anything, the highs and lows of being a student athlete.
We have always bonded over sports, UD games, 1v1 basketball in the backyard (or nerf basketball in the living room), to him trying (and failing) to teach me how to play madden. And not being able to watch him play, or hear him bitch about it, or be in the ‘Fam-Squad’ post game picture absolutely kills me because he was always there for me. Always.
I send all the texts, the “keep pushing and prove yourself” to the “dad sent me a video of your catch, it wasn’t too shabby” to “just kick ass, have no mercy” but sometimes it feels like it isn’t enough.
I know he’s not mad. Hell, I doubt he even thinks about it the way I do. And I know he’s proud of everything I’m doing, the recognition I’m getting, the stats I’m putting up, the wins. But it takes a lot for me to not have this underlying guilt. To not feel like ‘a bad sister’ and to know that he knows that I’d kill to be there.
I hear it a lot, and read it even more, about people feeling like this and about “leaving their family behind.” I guess writing this has really helped me realize that he’s growing just as much without me there as he would be with me there, just differently. And that being a text or FaceTime away isn’t such an awful thing.
This isn’t some sob story about how much I miss home, or how I need to know he understands that I can’t always be there and wish I could (because I know he does), or a feel bad for me because my family is far away but more a “hey dude, you’re killing it and I’d kill to be there to watch you kill it”
“Hey dude, you’re killing it. And I would kill to be there to watch you kill it”.