I had the privilege of watching my brother graduate from college this afternoon. I started to type “my little brother” but that isn’t an accurate adjective anymore. We’re peers now, and watching him walk across the stage today I thought about the two things that make my brother so different from anyone else I have ever met. It comes down, I think, to being brave and loyal.
I have never once seen my brother hesitate because he is afraid. Not socially, not physically, not mentally. He is unwavering and whole-hearted in everything he does. The what-ifs that haunt me at unexpected moments seem to just run right off my brother’s shoulders. He forges ahead through every situation he encounters, staying fearless in the face of challenges and pressures that most of us are too terrified to even put in words.
And he does it with so much pride. My brother embraces affiliations and traditions with a ferocious loyalty that demands to be respected. His brand of yelling-at-the-top-of-your-lungs-I-don’t-give-a-damn-who-hears-me enthusiasm isn’t confined to sports teams (though he does love anything and everything Boston), nor is it confined to major events. Nope, my brother is vocally, passionately loyal across the board. Sometimes he’s chanting louder than anyone else in the ballpark, sometimes he’s driving six hours out of his way to pick up a friend and sometimes he’s just plain being a sap, but in any iteration there is never any question that my brother invests his whole being in everything he does.
Watching my brother grow up has been a learning experience. There are dozens of things I could say and anecdotes that could be shared, but as he heads out into the world it’s these things — his fearless bravery and his enthusiastic loyalty — that I think will carry him through. It’s not easy for anyone, but I’m not too worried. He’ll do just fine. Love you, kid.