I’m turning a new page in the chapter of my life. My daughter will start her freshman year at college in a week, and I wonder how I’ll deal with the change. In helping her pack items she’s taking with her, I found a letter she wrote to give to her brother the day she leaves and knew I had to share it.
To My Brother,
I’m sorry for giving you your first concussion on Thanksgiving. I’m sorry for pushing you in dog poop on Mother’s Day. I’m sorry for pepper spraying you. I’m sorry for yelling at you to leave me alone and for slamming the door in your face. I’m sorry for all the times that you asked me to play with you and I said, “Not Today.” I’m sorry for every time I saw you walking in the subdivision and drove past you. I’m sorry for hiding air fresheners in your room. I’m sorry for using your toothbrush to clean the toilet. I’m sorry for embarrassing you on purpose. I’m sorry for all of my broken promises.
I cannot even apologize for it; I am always going to act like your second mom. I am always going to keep yelling at you to stop smacking and to clean up the mess you made in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter to me how often you insult me because you’re my little brother and I’m always going to be the boss.
I forgive all of the little brother insults you have used. I forgive you for hitting me with a wire coat hanger. I forgive you for putting a mechanical fish in my fish tank. I forgive you for spying on me at the beach. I forgive you for embarrassing me in front of every guy I ever brought home. I forgive you for tattling to mom when I drove her car. I even forgive you for being mean to me every morning.
I am so proud of you. It is not nearly enough, but I am so proud of you, little brother. You are smart and have the ability to be handsome, but to me, we are both halves of one idiot.
Well, as you can imagine, I was laughing so hard after reading this that I had tears in my eyes. Oh my, I remember all the drama as it occurred on a daily basis and am surprised that either of them have lived long enough to mature to this point - without me having killed them. Looking forward, I know she’ll be just fine because she’s grown into a fabulous woman.
In reflection, life experiences are the inspiration behind stories. Memories like this help build a heroine and make them come alive. Don’t be surprised if you read parts of this in a novel one day as I craft a female character. Building in the hidden motives or personality traits that define the character go far deeper than physical appearance.
Who are your favorite heroines, and what was it that caused you to cheer them on as you read a story?
Philisha Byrd Stephens