© Copyright 2022 by Noah Xia
Photo courtesy of the author.
He’s short, cute and as sweet as chocolate cake. My brother is my best friend, and he’s been with me for almost six years. Since the day he was born, I have adored him and taken care of him. However, that doesn’t mean we didn’t have any bumps on the trip. Just like any siblings, we argued, fought and yelled at each other. Sometimes he even bit me. But with my brother around, I always have someone to talk to and laugh with. When my parents told me I was getting a brother, I was ecstatic and immediately started counting down the days until he would be born.
Niko was obviously excited to see me, because he arrived 8 days early. We had to rush to the hospital and I just wanted to go back to sleep, because it was pretty early in the morning. As a 4 ½ year old, I was really bored. Lucky for me, the hospital had food! So while my mom was in pain, I was happily munching on cookies, waiting to go home.
When I first saw Niko, I was horrified. I had never seen a baby before. He looked like a tiny alien, with wrinkly red skin and a big head. How was this creature my new brother? I expected him to look like one of those beautiful babies in the Gerber commercials. He was nothing even close to that.
But that feeling soon disappeared as I got more used to my brother. He was adorable, after all. I loved being a big sister, and as my brother grew older, I liked the idea that one day, when I needed a friend, he’d be there. When I’m feeling down, if I had a bad day at school, Niko can tell. He comes up to me and asks, “Are you okay?” Then I laugh because he’s just so cute. We’re more than just siblings now. We’re best friends, always having each other’s backs. We dance together, ice skate together, crochet together, and more.
However, with good comes bad. “Noah, where did you put the papers?” Niko asked. He was looking for his homework. “I don’t know!” I replied. I was in a bad mood. Suddenly he got mad. “But you had them last. I can’t find my homework and I need to bring it tomorrow!” Niko was shouting now. “Why didn’t you put it in your bag before dinner?” I yelled back. Our parents found us shouting at each other and scolded us because we were supposed to be “good siblings” and there for each other. My brother and I glared at each other. We stayed mad for a whole hour, but it was hard trying to avoid someone I was so close with. Soon we were all smiles again.
Having a brother who is that close to me meant everyone was looking to me to take care of him. That meant I had a lot of responsibility. My parents talked about that even before Niko was born. So when Niko got hurt when I was there, most of the time I felt really bad, as if I had done it. And I may or may not have.
Sometimes, I do accidentally hurt him. There was a time when Niko and I were swimming last summer. I was supposed to be watching him as we swam. I was, until I got distracted by my friend who was also swimming with us. We were in the deep end and Niko accidentally let go of the wall. He didn’t know how to swim, and Niko immediately started sinking. He was thrashing around, desperate to save himself, so I noticed quickly. There were many adults around, but none of them looked my way. Niko was almost completely submerged, with only his feet above water. Instinctively, I grabbed onto them, which I shouldn't have. I tried to pull him out, but lost hold of him and nearly dunked him again. Once his hands came into view, I took them and made Niko hold on to the wall. Niko was terrified and left the pool, crying and running to our mom. My mom saw Niko crying and asked me what happened. Surprisingly, she didn’t praise me as a hero, and instead told me to watch Niko better.
Other times, I’m not the cause. When Niko was about two, he fractured his leg. We were at his friend’s house and he was up on a high chair. No one was looking, but apparently Niko leaned too close to the edge, and he toppled over with the chair. The chair was really heavy and it fell on Niko. He screamed and I immediately felt horrible, even though I wasn’t the one who made him fall. Niko had to go to the emergency room, and in the days after, wear a cast. He relearned to crawl and when I came home from school, I would play with him carefully and gently.
I try to keep Niko safe and sound, but sometimes, he doesn’t cooperate. When Niko has been watching TV for a really long time, I tell him to stop. I have to wear contacts, and I hate wearing them. I don’t want Niko to have to wear them too, so I try to limit his time watching the screen. Most of the time, he doesn’t get off, and I give up.
No matter how rough the day has been with Niko, I still keep in mind that my brother is my best friend. He may not be loving all the time, but we have a long time together. He isn’t that terrifying creature that I thought he was in the beginning. He is an adorable, kind, and helpful person. Niko’s there for me and I’m there for him.