As the youngest sister, I knew the day would come when I would eventually say goodbye to my older sibling when they move out and join the swaths of high school graduates moving into the next stage of life: college. I am one year younger than my brother, and despite this I had always assumed that his transition to college would be effortless. All of this is to say that when the day finally came, I was totally unprepared.
All of the “Lasts” snuck up on me. In one week I realized how many moments I wouldn’t be able to share again, or at least not in the same way. I had my last breakfast with him. A last family dinner. A last time to yell at him for being too loud, or to belligerently knock on his door and reluctantly ask him to help me with my Calculus homework. The significance of it all didn’t totally hit me until it was all over and the dust had settled. It had finally hit me what I would miss. It felt a little like my childhood was over. My big brother, who had always been at arms reach, was suddenly an hour-long drive away in a city that was new, even to him.
Saying goodbye was more bittersweet than I expected, to say the least. As long as I could remember, my brother and I had always bickered and disagreed. I joked for years that when he finally left, I would have the car all to myself and wouldn’t have him to bother me anymore. So, while unpacking his dorm and on the car ride home, I realized that maybe I shouldn’t have been so bitter, even if it wasn’t always serious. I realized far too late that the time we had together under the same roof really was not that long. It was an opportunity that I never really took full advantage of, and that I regret wishing away.
Moving him into college also helped me understand that neither transition is always easy. For me, it is so weird to walk around my house and wonder where he is. Transitioning into college isn’t easy, either. I had an early onset of senioritis, so I thought I was ready to fly by the end of junior year. But, after helping him move, seeing him and seeing how it isn’t just happy, but a little sad and scary, made me think that having one more year of familiarity may not be such a bad thing, even though college is still something to look forward to. It snapped me back to reality a little bit.
This whole article is not to say that saying goodbye to a sibling is nothing but painful and awful. It is just change. Your relationship will not end with them, and honestly it is a little fun to have more freedom than you did before. But, no matter what your expectations for saying goodbye are, it probably won’t be exactly that. Be ready for more than you bargained for, but don’t worry about being caught by surprise. Even if it is really sad and stressful, it is not like they will disappear from your life forever. Things will change, and you will too, and change isn’t always a bad thing.:)