An ode to my brother on his Birthday.



My journey on this planet has brought me to the realization that the people that are the most responsible for your successes are those who are literally right in front of you; languishing, in relative obscurity.  Often because we don’t do our due diligence in relaying our appreciation to them. In short, we don’t open our mouths.

Having to endure the burden of being the middle child  in concert with the mantle of “the bad kid” being foisted upon me, I was forced to find a way to bear that cross without a way to reconcile the cornucopia of emotions that I found myself wrestling with on the regular.

Thankfully, It was my family and my brothers in particular, who saved me from a certain drowning below the murky depths of uncertainty. On the eve of the birthdays of my older brothers, I always find myself staring at the shadow of influence that they had in my life.

Often, I feel inadequate in expressing my appreciation, respect, admiration and examples that they set for me to follow. In the sake of brevity I will focus this excerpt towards my 2nd oldest brother in lieu of it being his birthday.

Growing up I felt that I had to chart my own path simply for the sake of not being associated with him. Being called “Little Alfie” always felt like I was being relegated to his shadow and subconsciously, I always felt that those were shoes too big to fill… In my eyes, my brother was larger than life and we weren’t different from many siblings as we went through the inevitable growing pains.

Accordingly, I wanted to hover in his presence and my idolatry of him was met with right hooks, uppercuts wrestling moves, leg punches and mandates for me to go elsewhere. Ultimately; I had to acquiesce to his demands, but I always admired from afar. Unconsciously, I always wanted to mirror everything that he did.

As we got older with more parity between our respective ages and I found myself at a crossroads between adolescence, young adulthood and tumbling down a dark path, I found myself enveloped by cold feeling of foreboding about what my brother would think of me, if I did otherwise.

It was the spoken, along with the unspoken expectations and mandates that he set for me that constantly reverberated through my being that propelled and encouraged me, even when others told me that I couldn’t. It was my brother who fortified me in those instances where I truly felt that I didn’t have it in me and wanted to hang my head and take a page from Roberto Duran and mutter “No Mas” with a sense of resignation.

It was my brother that taught me that a cheering section only gets in the way of doing what you are supposed to do, as it is the clamor of a cheering section that distracts us from doing what needs to be done. To this day I this aspire to be as selfless, magnanimous and indefatigable as he shown himself to be.

Ultimately, I only want to prove myself worthy of the faith that he and my family as a whole has placed in me to achieve “what I’m supposed to do”. Proudly, I wear the badge of being a grown man and still looking up to my older brother.

Happy Birthday and thank you for being my brother.



  1. bethbyrnes says:

    Wonderful and heartfelt.


    1. bejamin4 says:

      You’re welcome!


      1. shunpwrites says:

        Thank you, he is one of the best people I know!


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