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Rachel Bayer

February 24th, 2011

This weekend, my sister will be coming up to JCU to spend some time with me. Her name is Rachel, she’s five years younger than me, and she’s my best friend. So this week, I’m dedicating this column to my little sister. Because how cool is that?

Rachel and I have a really special bond. It’s more of a friendship than just a sibling thing. And I think that’s pretty cool. Being an older brother has made a big difference in my life. Until I was five years old, I had everything to myself – my parents, my toys, my house – it was all mine.

But I got bored. I could only play with Stretch Armstrong for so long before goo started coming out of his hyper-extended limbs; and even though we just lived in a duplex at the time, it seemed like a mansion to toddler-Brian. Furthermore, my college-age babysitter just wanted to do her homework … that’s not exactly the coolest entertainment in the world. I wanted a playmate.

My earliest memory is when my dad came to my preschool, Youngworld, when I was five. I was on the playground, and he lifted me over the fence and said, “You have a little sister, Bri.” We went to the hospital and I got to hold her for the first time in this big red chair. I felt like a king on a throne.

As a baby, she was really cute. But all babies are cute, so that’s really nothing special. But when people started saying that she looks a lot like me, that’s when I knew that she was a good looking person. It runs in the family.

Unlike most babies who grow up and lose their baby swag, my little sister just kept on it. Now, with such a stylish groove, words are sometimes sharp and there’s a definite attitude. That compounded with being a teenager, it’s quite an adventure sometimes.

But I like being the only one who can break through the ‘tude and be her friend when the rest of the world hates her (girls, you know how that feels; guys, it’s a girl thing).

You might be curious to know how we broke through the gender barrier. Of course it’s easy for brothers to get along with each other, and sisters have that estrogen bond. But Rachel and I have mastered a balancing act. I bring the elder masculinity to the table and she is the young lady – we make an unstoppable team.

As her older brother, I feel I have a responsibility to teach her what I know. This has proven to be both successful and unsuccessful depending on the situation. Trying to teach her trigonometry when she was in third grade was probably not my best idea. But teaching her to ride her bike or taking her on a canoe trip were both very worthwhile endeavors.

Additionally, some of my educational efforts have back fired. When I taught her what I know about grammar and speaking properly (a skill I acquired from my mother-dearest), I never expected that one day she would be correcting my grammar. Go figure.

But I’m sure of a couple things. One: if she keeps focusing in school and works hard, someday Rachel will have the opportunity to come to a great institution like JCU. Two: the next time we go camping will be much cooler than a canoe trip or a bike ride (I’m thinking something in the mountains). And three: if she shows this column to her friends, she will officially be the coolest middle schooler in the world and possibly the only girl in Pennsylvania featured in the number one non-daily college newspaper in Ohio.