My Aunt Liza loves to tease me and tell the story of the day my little brother Mauro was born. At the ripe age of 3 years old, I had no idea that my life was about the change indefinitely by becoming a big sister. All I understood was that suddenly, I was no longer going to be the only child of the family, all of the love and affection I had been showered with for my entire three years of existence was about to be split between myself and this new baby?! It was all too much for my toddler brain to process and that was enough to send me into a full on tantrum right there at the hospital. According to her, shortly after Mauro arrived, I began crying and blurted out to everyone in the delivery room, “Nobody loves me anymore!”
To this day even I am amazed at the dramatics that I brought to the table at such a young age. As much as I love to deny this ever happened, I can now laugh when my aunt reminds me of my outburst on May 2nd, 1995, because I could not have been more wrong about what to expect from this tiny new addition to our family. I was 3 and he was a few minutes old, the day that my parents provided me with my best friend for life.
I wish I could remember the exact day that I realized being his big sister was not this massive burden and annoyance but rather this unbelievable gift from the universe. For the longest time it felt like Mauro and I would never have anything in common except for our parents and the bunk bed we shared. Although we are only 3 years apart in age, growing up our interests rarely overlapped. When Mauro was obsessed with skating and playing with his Tech Decks, I was entering my freshman year of high school, praying to make the varsity tennis team. When I started crushing on guys and wanting to go out on dates, Mauro was still in his innocent, prepubescent state of mind, running around outside until the sun went down.
Looking back at it now, it feels like we went years without having a meaningful conversation because we just lived our separate lives and could not relate to one another. When we would cross paths at home it would usually end in either me punching him or him kicking me until one of us was crying and we were both pissed off, our tears served as a reminder as to why we kept to ourselves in the first place. Much to our surprise that all changed in 2009.
As I was entering my senior year at Communications Arts high school, Mauro received exciting news that he had been accepted there as well for his freshman year. Only about 120 students get accepted each year so it was pretty cool because for the first time since our elementary days, him and I would share the same hallways of a school again. Instead of him waiting for the bus everyday, it only made sense that he rode with me each morning.
I had no idea at the time, but that half hour before and half hour after school in the car would soon become the super glue to our relationship. It was simple really, we would make our music selection for the day and jam out in the car together while impatiently waiting for our bean and cheese tacos in the Mama Margies drive thru before classes. I was 17 and he was 14 and for the first time in ages, the most unlikely things brought us back together; Comm Arts and our undying love for .69 cent breakfast tacos.
We all know that old saying, “You don’t know a good thing, until it is gone” well that serves to be true in this scenario. When I moved across the country to Chicago for my freshman year of college, lo and behold I was desperately missing those car rides to school with my little brother. It was our time to catch up on life and uninhibitedly bitch to one another about whatever was going on in our own little worlds without the worries of being judged or ridiculed. I don’t think either of us realized how much we not only enjoyed those car rides, but in a sense we grew to need that time together as well.
That first summer after being away for a year, Mauro and I spent almost everyday together. In fact, we both often refer to it as “That Summer” as a synonymous reference to the classic Garth Brooks song that we have listened to countless times and the best summer of our lives. I was 18 and he was 15, we had never been closer and I had never appreciated my little brother more.
As I have watched Mauro grow into the man he is today, I honestly feel so incredibly lucky to be able to navigate through the crossroads of life with him in my passenger seat. When I am filled with all of these crazy ideas, I know I can turn to him for a voice of reason and a solid dose of reality, all while he still encourages me to take big chances. His friendship means more to me than almost anything in this world and just knowing he is always going to be in my corner gives me that extra motivation to be the best version of myself. Anyone that has ever met Mauro can attest to the gentleman that he has become, not because he has to be but because that’s who he truly is deep down. How blessed am I to be able to call myself his big sister?
To this day one of my favorite things for us to do is blast our favorite tunes in my car and just drive until we get to where ever we are going. It seems as if our destination this whole time was never meant to be our high school parking lot, it was merely a pit stop along the way that guided us to this irreplaceable bond that him and I now share. It only took us the better half of our lives to figure that out, thankfully at 23 and 20, I think it is safe to say we have finally arrived… Cheers to that, lil bro.
“You and I have memories, longer than the road that stretches out ahead” – The Beatles
All My Love,