They say your life forever changes the moment you become a parent.
But, they forget to mention your life also forever changes the moment you become an older sibling.
At your young age, you first experience unconditional love.
You become a coach and someone’s go-to person, and you learn your best friend will always be "the little guy" (or in my case, two "little guys") by your side.
Your younger sibling opens the door for you when you sneak in past curfew, and he gives you his last bite of cake.
Your younger sibling sprints to get ice for you when you bash your knee into the wall.
They don’t tell you any of this when you're born.
Mom and Dad don't ask you if it's okay to have more kids. You never signed up for this immense responsibility.
As older siblings, we forget our younger siblings grow. Maybe we don't so much forget, but we ignore.
We worry, we wonder, we wait and we hope they make the right decisions, the ones they know we would encourage them to make.
We grow up and move away from our younger siblings, leaving them to fend for themselves. And when we finally come home, they aren't so little anymore.
They've grown into real, functioning human beings, and we wonder how this happened. We wonder how our little guys have grown into their own individuals, and we sit in awe.
We trust we've been positive role models, and so we give them a little more reign as they take our — now their — car keys off the kitchen table.
Here are some hopes we all have about our younger siblings as they grow up:
1. We hope their late-night Snapchats in a random friend's basement mean they're having fun.
2. We hope that when we text them to see if they need a ride home, their 2 am responses will mean they're already on their way home.
3. We hope they'll know kindness.
4. We hope they'll find their passions in this world and go after them no matter what.
5. We hope they'll survive the dangerous maze that is New York City public transportation.
6. We hope they'll have good taste in significant others, and they'll treat them with dignity and respect.
7. We hope they'll be responsible drivers once they get their licenses.
8. We hope they'll understand the power of the word "no" and won't be afraid to use it.
9. We hope the friends they make will be good influences on them.
10. We hope those friends will care for them like we do.
11. We hope they'll be leaders.
12. We hope they'll stand up for others.
13. We hope they won't call people names or spread rumors about other people.
14. We hope they'll know themselves and their limits.
15. We hope they won't do drugs.
16. We hope they won't be victims of peer pressure.
17. We hope they'll know the power of speech and use it wisely.
18. We hope bullies will be unable to stop them and will watch them thrive.
19. We hope they'll develop a sense of confidence and security with who they are and who they are going to become.
20. We hope they'll never settle.
21. We hope they'll know when to say sorry and admit they're in the wrong.
22. We hope they'll always stand up for their beliefs.
23. We hope they'll laugh more.
24. We hope they'll find meaning in both good and bad experiences.
25. We hope they'll give more than they take.
26. We hope their characters will be good, kind and selfless.
27. We hope they'll grow up to be people we're proud of.
As older siblings, we want the world for our younger siblings.
We fight to shield them from the bad, all while making sure they're tough enough to face what's out there.
Sometimes, it's just hard to let go of our younger siblings.
But, all we really want is for the world to see our "little guys" as the big guys we've shaped them into.