Growing up, my little brother Kevin was the “little terror” of the family. While he could have been a sweetheart at times, my family does have the home videos to prove Kevin could have been the poster child for the “terrible twos.” For every year he’s been alive, I’m sure I could tell three funny stories for each, one if which includes him slapping me in the face after blowing out my own birthday candles on my fifth birthday. A three-year-old with fluffy brown hair and a trouble-child smirk to match, Kevin was infamous in our family for throwing my first bunny Nibbles up in the air because he thought he “had wings and could fly.” (To both my parents and my dismay, flying did not turn out too well for Nibbles). After such events, it seemed normal to worry that he would grow up to be this horrible, bad kid.
Luckily, that wasn’t the case, and his kindheartedness is seen in his friendships and my relationship with him, but more specifically with his good friend, Jennie. Kevin met Jennie during the seventh grade and has remained close with her and her best friend Michelle ever since. Both Jennie and her friend Michelle have Down syndrome yet unlike others, Kevin never thought twice about the two girls being any different from anyone else. During a time when teenager’s cruelty to one another can be seen every day in the hallways of a high school, my brother serves as the perfect example for how the students should treat one another. He takes the time to talk and joke around with Jennie and Michelle in between classes; I think it is his goofy, lax personality that makes both Jennie and Michelle love him. However, most recently Kevin’s benevolence became evident when he found out Jennie was diagnosed with leukemia and was in the hospital. Two of his teachers pulled him aside one day during school and told him the news, and that Jennie was asking to see him at the hospital.
Taking the time to plan out his visit to be the perfect one, Kevin decided to drive to the hospital that weekend and visit his friend. Along with him he brought a plastic toy basketball he had gotten from our high school’s varsity basketball game the night before. A basketball player for the team, Kevin “autographed” it and drew little smiley faces on it, in the hope that it would brighten Jennie’s day. When my brother arrived at her hospital room, he said her face lit up with a big smile when she saw him. He spent time with her talking and coloring in the hospital before leaving and saying his goodbyes. After leaving, he said nothing could have made him feel better than the fulfillment of what he had just experienced. A few days later, Jennie’s mom called and said that seeing Jennie’s reaction to Kevin arriving at the hospital was synonymous to every teen girl’s reaction to seeing Justin Bieber. Kevin was Jennie’s very own Justin Bieber.
To see that my little brother has grown into becoming someone who can make this perfect, little girl feel so important is gratifying as a sister. If we all spent more time trying to make others feel important, wouldn’t we be better for it?