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Oh Brother…

Caroline Richardson, Mini-Feature Assistant Editor

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For as long as I can remember, I have been greatly outnumbered by boys. Growing up in a neighborhood full of boys, being the only granddaughter amongst nine grandchildren, and having two older brothers, seemed unbearable. My world consisted of backyard sporting events, belching, and Monday night football. While being the youngest and the only girl in my family has resulted in my fair share of insults, bumps, and bruises, it has given me a new perspective and allowed me to appreciate the blessing. Some of my most valued life lessons have come from growing up with my brothers, John and Daniel.

One of the most unique lessons I was able to learn from my brothers was how to be tough. There is no doubt that being run over by a Barbie car and getting hit square in the forehead with an aluminum baseball bat were just a few of the examples of the need to be physically tough. It was the importance of mental toughness that took a little longer for me to grasp. Watching both John and Daniel play sports throughout junior high and high school made me aware of how their successes rarely came from physical talent, but rather their mental drive and determination. It truly helped me realize the meaning behind the phrase, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Boys are often notorious for being carefree and having a “go with the flow” type of attitude. My brothers rarely got worked up about anything, and even if they did, it was something small like the latest upset in sports or who to blame for the broken lamp. I witnessed them lose numerous important games or do poorly on a test, and in the moment, these things may have seemed earth shattering. But I look at where they are now and realize, none of these “earth shattering” moments affected them in a significant way. From this, I was able to learn to adopt their more carefree personalities and not to sweat the small stuff. They have come to help me realize that nothing is ever as bad as it seems, and everything will be okay.

John and Daniel were both very successful in high school and became a representation of what I wanted to be and all that I wanted to achieve here, or so I thought. I often think back to a conversation I had with my dad before I started my first day of high school. I told him I was nervous because “I have big shoes to fill.” He replied with a simple, “No Caroline, you have your own shoes to fill.” I was never quite sure what he meant by this until I watched both of my brothers graduate. I was able to understand that I will never be good at football like Daniel or smart in science like John, but what I can be is uniquely me. My brothers may have paved an impressive path for me to follow, but they have also made me realize that I am my own person and I am capable of so much.

Growing up around boys has provided me with invaluable memories and life lessons that have undoubtedly made my journey through Xavier and life a little bit easier. Thanks guys, I am one lucky gal.

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