Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sibling Bonding 101

I've mentioned my brother in passing from time to time, and he's popped up on my Instagram lately, but I've never really told you much about him.

I am the oldest of three. My sister, Claire (the one on the left), is 22 and graduated from NYU's Tisch school with a degree in acting last May. She lives in New York and is currently pursuing a career as an actress while trying to make ends meet in that oh-so expensive city. She is very talented and beautiful. Please hire her.

My brother, Brennan, is 19 and goes to NOVA, the local community college. He lives with my parents about 30 minutes away from my house.

Brennan was born when I was 6, so by the time he came along, he really was my little brother. Especially now that we're in our 20s, I don't think of Claire as my little sister, I just think of her as my sister. But the age difference with Brennan made the older-younger sibling relationship much more pronounced. He was in 5th grade when I graduated from high school, and I was well out of college by the time he graduated. We've always been in completely different places in our lives.

Probably in part because of the age difference, we've always gotten along pretty well. There were a few trying times when we were still sharing a bathroom the year after I graduated from college, but for the most part, we have a good time together. He was always a good little brother and let Claire and I watch Runaway Bride whenever we wanted to, and to this day he loves Friends as much as we do. He and I have some similar interests, and I've always felt like I relate to him in ways that the rest of the family doesn't. Plus, he's always very helpful when it comes to moving furniture around and picking stuff up from Craigslist sellers. And he accepts payment in the form of donuts.

This semester, Brennan and I are taking a class together at NOVA. Because I didn't take an art history class in undergrad, I need to take one for my Interior Design degree. The Corcoran allows us to take an art history class through NOVA to satisfy the requirement, and given the cost savings, I couldn't pass up that opportunity. Since bro Brennan already goes to NOVA and takes lots of art classes there, I suggested we take the class together. He wasn't so keen on the idea at first, but after a little convincing from my mom, he came around.

The class is online, but since we're both taking it, we are treating it more like a regular class and watching lectures together at my parents' house. I am hoping that in exchange for having access to my older sister, college degree-holding brain he will compensate me with a plate of nachos. As you can tell, compensation in the form of food is a recurring theme in our relationship.

Never did I ever expect that Brennan and I would be enrolled in a college level course together. Given our age difference, there have been so few opportunities for us to participate in official activities together (and he didn't last long on the summer swim team). I think it's pretty cool, and I'm happy that it gives us a good reason to hang out together on a more regular basis.  It's one of those things that makes me appreciate adulthood and look forward to other things we might get to do together.

The class started last week, so we've only met once to watch a couple lectures and complete our first assignment. So far, it's going well. And despite my 4+ years of college, his notes ended up being more useful than mine...so that was interesting. Maybe this will be a complete disaster and he will hate me and I will despise him by the end of this 8-week course. But hopefully we will still lovingly give each other our favorite foods and both have an A at the end. Fingers crossed!

Have you ever taken a class with your sibling? Or participated in an activity with a younger sibling that was out of the ordinary for both of you?

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