Pin It When I was in sixth or seventh grade, perhaps even a little older, I had a little brother that I absolutely detested. He constantly whined, got into my things without permission, ruined my library books, and generally made a nuisance of himself. In other words, I loathed the little blighter.
I remember the frustration I felt on the day we moved and my parents informed me that my little brother and I would be sharing a bedroom together. Just great. I felt that my parents were intentionally ruining my life and trying to make me miserable. As a result, I blamed my little brother and thought about how much I hated him, this in turn made me feel all the more miserable and sorry for myself.
After some time of sharing a room with Yancy, something changed our relationship forever. It all started on one night when I was getting ready for bed and Yancy, somewhat apprehensively, asked from the top bunk, “Jason, would you read me a story tonight?”
Like most older brothers, I didn’t want anything to do with him, but he had asked nicely. I thought perhaps that I would read to him, this way I could avoid having to listen to his endless chatter, something he was well known for at bedtime.
That night I chose to read to him from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I thought for sure that he would quickly become bored with the story, lose interest, and not ask for me to read to him again. You can imagine my surprise when he thanked me at the conclusion of several chapters. When he dropped off to sleep, I thought about how good it felt to read to him. The next night the same thing happened, and even though I had homework, I put it off so I could read a few chapters to Yancy. He in turn expressed just as much gratitude as the night before. After a few days of this, reading became our nightly ritual before bed, whether I had finished my homework or not. I would read until his eyes would become so heavy he couldn’t possibly keep them open any longer. Some nights when I stopped reading he would wake up, still groggy-eyed and beg, “Jason, please read just a little bit longer.”
We soon finished all of The Chronicles of Narnia and moved on to other books that I loved, such as James and the Giant Peach, and even a few stories I had written myself. It was from this small beginning that not only a love for literature was born, but a love between my brother and me.
The years have fled since those days, but the relationship that I share with my brother has only become stronger. He has been the greatest friend I’ve ever had, and we are closer today than at any other time in our lives. As I look back at the origins of our relationship, I realize that when I read to him each night I was putting his needs before mine. It was by performing this service to my little brother, I came to appreciate him more as well. I am so grateful and thank my lucky stars that I had a little brother, who so many years ago uttered the words, “Would you read me a story tonight?”