Growing up my older brother and I didn't always get along, but that all seemed to change when he started college. Suddenly, I was transformed from an awkward high school sophomore into a worldly college freshman. Because I was tall, and always looked older (which is thrilling now), he took me to fraternity parties, football games, and even bars.
The drinking age in Wisconsin was eighteen, and all I had to do back then was to say that my birthday was three years earlier. Once he even tracked me down when I naively left one party to go to another with someone that I had just met. Fortunately, he and his girlfriend split up and knocked on doors until they found me.
Later that year, a high school senior befriended me, because she was interested in attending the same university. She wanted to visit the campus, and knew that my brother was well-connected there. After we arrived, she started acting like she owned the joint, and my brother quickly put her in her place. He said, "This is my room, and my sister is in charge here. You are her guest, and what she says goes." Those were very powerful words at the time. Come to think of it, they would still be powerful today.
Last weekend my older son began his fall break from law school. Instead of coming straight home, his friends picked him up from the airport and they drove to spend the weekend with his little brother. My younger son acted as tour guide of his college campus, and the young men happily complied. They cheered on his football team to victory, and even played football afterward.
No college visit would be complete without bar and party hopping, but of course I was not privy to any details. It did give me peace of mind that my older son was travelling with his two close friends, and one of them happened to be in medical school. I tried to warn them about his rundown house, and asked him to bring his medical bag just in case. I also suggested that they all be up-to-date with their shots. He assured me that he was bringing masks, gloves, and a hazmat suit.
When my older son returned home, he said that they had a great time. Later that night, my younger son told me how his big brother always treated for meals, and even took care of the cab fare. He was sad that he had to leave. Although when my husband and I offered to visit, he said that he would get back to us.