He's my partner in crime, the one who understands how crazy our parents are, and he's with me through thick and thin. I've learned that I can lean on him, that even though he seems like he doesn't give a crap, he'll sit and listen to me cry about something and actually offer some sane advice. Sometimes he's a jerk and annoys the crap out of me, but then again, he is my younger brother and I think that's programmed into his DNA.
When we were little, we fought constantly. He thought it was cool to pick on me in front of my friends or around our cousins, which usually got my blood boiling. Yet when we were home, by ourselves, we got along. At night, when we were supposed to be asleep, he'd often sneak into my room and we'd hang out.
As I grew older, I realized that his habit of picking on and teasing me was something he did to mostly everyone in his life. He's always coming up with a quick joke or snarky comment about someone that ends up being so outrageous and unexpected that you can't even be offended. What once frustrated me no longer does (okay, it does sometimes, but not like it used to) because I understand that's just the way he is. That's his sense of humor, and he rarely means anything he says.
I cherish the relationship we have because I know not everyone is this lucky. He's my counterpart - it's always been me and him, Caity and Danny, Cait and Dan. And I hope it always stays that way.
Happy birthday, brudder!
(And Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!)