I’ve always been a very protective person by nature. I’m like a natural older brother.
I will tease and pick on you all day, but if somebody else does it, then my blood starts to boil. When Daily News staff writer Nicole Wiegand goes to cover events, I’m always telling her to cover up.
I always want to meet my cousins’ boyfriends and I almost feel bad for whomever is going to date my baby sisters (hopefully in another 20 to 30 years).
I have a very large and very close family and my mom was the oldest girl in the house and was always protective of her siblings. This is a trait she passed down to me, although I was her only kid.
The origins of how I became a super big brother started with my little cousin/sister Shiya. Her mother, my auntie Shon, used to babysit me all the time and wanted me all the time. So naturally we grew close.
According to my mother, Shon got frustrated that she couldn’t have me all the time and said, “I’ll go out and get my own baby.” Then boom, here came Shiya.
I don’t really recall, but I have been told that there might’ve been some jealousy issues taking place with me.
Before Shiya, I was considered the “House Grandbaby” and when she came along, that title became a shared one. I do remember, however, the method my auntie used to get me to accept this intruder into my territory.
She told me that Shiya was “my baby” and that it was job to look out for her. From that day forth, Shiya has always been my baby.
I used to feed her M&M’s before she had teeth, we would watch “Tom & Jerry” together, and ran all around Papa’s house.
Shiya is going to be 25 in a month, but she is still my baby. She is a licensed cosmetologist and esthetician, wants to become certified as a beauty school instructor and plans on opening her own spa and salon one day.
Needless to say I am very proud of her and she will even tell you I was her role model. We went to the same schools, she drives a newer version of my car, and she named her real estate venture with my other aunt after one of my nicknames.
I didn’t meet my siblings on my father’s side until I was a teenager, but they quickly fell under my “big brother” umbrella, as well.
My younger sister Brittany graduated Magna Cum Laude from Spelman College with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. She is currently going to NYU Medical School for her doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences and will also be turning 25 this year.
I am the self-proclaimed “starving artist” in the family, to say that Brittany is going to do fairly well is an understatement. I always joke with her that if I have a daughter, she is going to go live with “Aunt Brit.”
One of my favorite Brit moments is when her mom, our pops and I drove a rented minivan to Atlanta for freshman move-in day. She had lived in Kansas City all of her life, and yet she showed no fear whatsoever about moving across the county by herself to go to school.
At times, she almost seemed anxious for us to leave, so that she could begin her college career. How many 17 year olds can keep that kind of composure in that situation?
With Brittany, I rarely have to worry about her actions or decisions. She is wise beyond her years, but she still comes to her big brother for advice.
When I meet her friends, most of the time they think that she is the older sibling (thanks to my baby face).
Now with our baby sister, Nia, there is nothing but worry. She is now a teenager and that is so weird for me. When I met Nia she was 5, had pigtails and watched “Hannah Montana.”
Nia is a very intelligent, but is lazy, which makes for some weird circumstances.
For example, this girl reads multiple books at a time. Her room is always cluttered with books, she has been working on a novel for several years, and probably could make a mortgage payment with the amount of library fees she’s racked up. She’s also at the “I think I know everything” stage of being a teenager and loves to correct folks. So you have this smart kid, who loves to read and write and then she will get a D in English.
It’s not that she doesn’t understand the work, she will just forget to do her homework or do it and not turn it in.
I am always blown away when I get the “Hey, brother guess what?” phone call or text from her. This kid can provide an intense verbal critique of why the book is always better than its film counterpart, but can’t remember to turn in an assignment.
With Nia, I serve as the protector, like I am with Shiya and as her advisor, like I do with Brit. I worry about that kid a lot and Brit and I often wonder if she will take the starving artist path like myself or will she go the same route as Brit and became a future member of the One Percent.
She is only 14, so she there is plenty of time for her to figure out her future.
I also serve as the big brother figure for a bunch of my little cousins, but these three ladies are most often where I put that part of myself to use.
I love being a big brother and I am blessed to have people that I can tease, protect, advise and share my life with.