To My Baby Brother: The Things You’ll Never Know, by Jessica


Also by Jessica on HA: “Copy Kids—The Immorality of Individuality” and “Christian Discipline, A Child’s Perspective.”

To my baby brother:

I know we don’t have the best relationship.

I know you think I’m ungrateful for the things my parents gave us. I know you think I ran away that day when I was 18.  I remember the day you told me I abandoned you.  I know you weren’t as mistreated and I am glad for that, because I’m your big sister.  I love you.

I can prove I love you in the things you’ll never know.

When you were little, you  liked to flush things down the toilet.  Dad was always snaking the drain in our little 2 bedroom trailer house.  It’s a  quirky kid thing.  One day, when you were 3 and I was 7 or 8, you flushed a match box car and clogged the drain.  Dad found out.  You ran to the bedroom screaming and locked the door.  You were 3.  You weighed 30 lbs soaking wet.  When dad got that door open, he sat down cross legged on the floor with you on his lap and started punching you.  I ran for him.  She made him stop.

I took a beating for you that night.

It was worth it and I would do it again.  This was the first time, it wasn’t the last.  I learned to take credit for your mistakes whenever I could when you were little.  I wish I had told him I flushed the car.

That day when I was 18, the day that made me leave, I cried all night.  I knew I had to leave.  I knew I wasn’t safe.  I knew being choked by my dad wasn’t normal.  I didn’t cry because I was worried for myself or that I was going to miss my parents.

I cried because I couldn’t take you or my older brother with me. 

I want you know though, I fought for you.  I spoke to your school about counseling for you.  I talked to social services. I spoke to an attorney.  I wasn’t trying to abandon you.  I thought about you every day and grieved when I was told their was nothing I could do.

You were just barely a teenager then and whether they will admit it or not, my parents learned something about smothering a teenager.  It backfires. You, little brother, were in public school after kindergarten and received a full education.  Be grateful for that, you’ll never know how valuable that is.  You were able to take drivers ed.  I heard one year that you were out celebrating halloween with your friends and I cried that day because I realized they were giving you freedom.  You were allowed to date.  You were given a car and they assisted you with college.

I am glad that they gave you a better a life. 

You were however, still abused.  I can’t say that enough and you need to hear it.  Dad was beating you too.  I remember your middle of the night cries.

So little brother, when we discuss these painful things, I need you to try to remember how things were.  I payed a price in love to try to make your life a little better.  I need to you to try to remember and see things from a little different perspective.  I don’t want you to stop loving mom and dad.  You guys have a good relationship.  I just want you to know that I fought for you.

I did not just run away. I didn’t abandon you.