The Big Brother I Never Had

Today’s secret admirer prompt comes from The Daily Post:

You return home to discover a huge flower bouquet waiting for you, no card attached. Who is it from — and why did they send it to you?

I have no idea who it’s from but I can tell you it’s from someone who cares very deeply about me and has for a very long time. Also, it’s probably not someone I would ever suspect. Or at least that’s what history would show.

Years ago I moved into my freshman dorm at University. It was exciting and terrifying all at once. I was roughly 2,000 miles from home in an entirely foreign environment. I don’t think my parents had any idea why I was there and some days I wasn’t sure of that myself. I was determined to gain new insights and experiences but I was suffering from culture shock and a serious dose of home sickness.

One day I came back to my dorm and picked up a package slip. When I retrieved the package it was a small box. The small box contained a mini rose plant in a ceramic pot. There was an intimate and loving message attached but the card contained no name. The years have eroded my memory of the message but I remember feeling both comforted and disturbed.

My boyfriend and I tried to figure out who it was from and who even knew how to find my new address. I hinted at the topic with some friends and family to try to draw out some clues. No luck. After a few days I started straight out asking people I spoke to. Still, no luck. How odd. My boyfriend and I discussed if I should keep the plant or not. While the warm gesture was appreciated the intimate nature of the note (combined with having no idea who sent it) was unsettling. I vowed to keep it at least until I could unveil the identity of my secret admirer.

A few weeks later I discovered the flowers had been sent by the older brother of my childhood best friend. My co-opted “big brother”. I spent nearly every waking hour with my childhood best friend so my big brother was there for it all. He watched all my victories and failures. He provided advice, protection, and support. He saw me through my first loves and my first heartbreaks. He teased me and loved me as if I was his own blood. He was, as it turns out, very proud to watch me leave home and strike out on my own. The flowers were his attempt at expressing his pride and love for his “little sister”.

It was in that moment that I saw our relationship in a way I had never seen it before. For more than a decade I had looked to him as my protector, my supporter, my big brother. Looking down at those flowers I finally realized he not only tolerated my love and adoration, but he had actually internalized it. I was, and always would be, his little sister.

Too bad he tried to sneak a kiss in the attic when I was twelve.    I tossed the flowers.

With Love, Mia

Nov 10: Today I am thankful for my co-worker M. I’ve only known her for a little while but her kind mothering nature warms my heart. I’m so lucky to be on her team.


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