Most surprises come in the form of brand-new cars, adorable puppies or a sweet sixteen party, but mine was completely different.

When I was 17, my little brother Miles was born.

He was 100 percent a surprise, and the most incredible one at that. Not many people are juniors in high school when they find out they are welcoming a new sibling into the family. At first I was shocked, as were my parents, not fully able to grasp the idea that a little nugget was about to enter our family. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became.

I love babies, there is no doubt about it. But usually, you get to spend an hour or two with them and then return them to their parents. I was about to experience babysitting at a whole new level.

When Miles was born, I knew that our relationship was going to be unique. I never imagined that such a tiny human could mean so much to me. I like to think my role in his life goes beyond being his sister and extends to a motherly one. When he was first born, boiling bottles and buying formula after drill team practice was the norm for me. Now that he is what I like to call a “little man,” our relationship has grown. From ice cream dates to introducing him to Disney movies from my childhood, to becoming Santa Claus for a night, I cherish every moment I get to spend with him.

little_brother_3

Photo Courtesy of  Tracie Gaut

As both of us grew older, Miles learned to crawl, stand, walk and talk. I learned how to move three hours away from home and experience college. While I knew moving away from my family was going to be a difficult transition, there was one thing in particular I refused to let happen — I didn’t want to become the older sister that he forgot about. When you’re three, life is a whirlwind. Those five hours at his church preschool program seem like forever, and naptime like a full night’s sleep . I didn’t want his new memories to replace old ones with me.

Being away from Miles is difficult, but it makes the time we have together even more important. While I try my best to always ask him questions about school or our dogs when we are on the phone, his attention only lasts so long. So, when it comes to weekend visits or Christmas break, I want to make them as memorable as I can.

If there is one thing I could thank Miles for that he can truly understand, it would be unconditional love. People always say that they would do anything for their child and not think twice about it, and I have the same mindset about Miles. When you are 17 years older than your brother, you get to watch him grow, which is the most rewarding experience  ever.

I could never have asked for a more perfect, stubborn, adorable surprise in my life.

little_brother_4

Photo Courtesy of Morgan London