For National Sibling Day I have three to write about, actually now four thanks to marriage. Being the oldest of four has always been an adventure and a responsibility I’m pretty sure I haven’t handled the best in my 26 plus years of being a big brother.

I remember being told as a kid when I wanted to hang out with my friends that family is forever. The saying I feel like has become my truth for the life has been you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends. However, that hasn’t been the case with the siblings. There have been ups and downs but I have a pretty good set of brother and sisters.

Honestly I think it gets easier to be a better brother with age. This year I turn 30, Tyler turned 26, Kayla will be 19 and Rosie turned 17. As anyone who knows me can attest, I’m super close with my brother. He has been my best friend for quite a long time and our bond has only strengthened as we go through our adult lives.

It all started early because of our parents divorce. I was only six when our parents split and that meant I had to be there for my brother and we just had each other during a very long, ugly time. Not having that big of an age gap and counting on each other so young really solidified our bond as we grew up. Anything that happens to me or any advice I need he is always one of the first I turn to. I don’t think it’s really a condemnation on my parents, it’s just a different relationship with my brother. We’ve always been tight relationship between us being around the same age and experiencing the same things.

We had a period where we drifted apart for a bit, but I think that’s natural with most kids going through their teenage years. You want to strike out on your own and find your identity. It’s almost a period of isolating yourself as things change and you figure out yourself. That’s what made the age gap somewhat challenging with my sisters. My brother and I lived my dad while they lived with my mom and we were in those teenage years as they were growing up.

When they were growing up we were going through high school and figuring ourselves out and then off to college. Don’t get me wrong, I still made time to see them, but there’s a lot in my life that was sorting itself out. I definitely saw them play sports in middle school and try and pass on some of my own coaching, but then my brother and I’s careers kicked in. Five years ago my sisters were getting ready to start high school and then within two months I moved from Indiana to New Mexico and my brother moved to Georgia.

I’ve been back for a few holidays, we Skype every Christmas and I call them every once in awhile but that age gap has always made it a bit more challenging. It seems though the older my sisters get the more understanding there is. They get in to extracurriculars, dating and their own social lives and just how life goes. Despite the time apart we still get together and are great siblings.

I think if anything you just start to realize how fast life goes by as the older siblings and realize how important sharing those life moments are and that you need to make time for them despite what’s going in on your own life. One of the proudest moments in my life was being Best Man at my brother’s wedding a few years ago. Despite being over 1500 miles in just over a month I’ll be heading home to celebrate my oldest sister’s high school graduation. I was also very proud to be someone she talked to regularly for advice on what she wanted to do for college.

I’ve always been someone who has a very small group of people I stay close with and I think what makes those relationships special is no matter how much time you’re away it always is just the same when you get back together. The age gap may have made things a bit more difficult at times but there have been sacrifices I’ve made along the way to make sure I can share moments with my siblings. Despite still trying to figure out my own way and career still I will always be committed to being their fro my brother and sisters.