Raise your hand if you are a younger sibling. Wait… umm… err… rephrase: Raise your eyebrow if you are a younger sibling. There, that’s better. For those of you that raised… something (like me), you know exactly what I speak of today. You were always the "Little (insert last name)." Always referred to as " So-and-So’s little brother/sister." No matter where you went, people already knew who you were. And nine times out of 10, these people would have already formulated opinions on you, based on the person that came before you, right or wrong. Depending on who it was that came before you, these opinions could be positive or negative. Lucky for me, the road ahead of me was paved with love and gold.
We never really did have a normal relationship growing up. For some reason, we never faught. Well, almost never. I still remember our last fight, vividly. I was about six years old, we were riding in the old green Jeep Wagoneer, listening to the radio. She would not stop singing along with the song, I HATED IT. My mom finally told her to stop, but she kept mouthing the words (somehow still running the song in my mind). Boy, was I furious! That monumental battle aside, we always got along.
You could not ask for a cooler older sister. Always the most popular girl in school, absolutely gorgeous, and ever the star athlete. If she ever had enemies, I never heard about it. Everybody loved her. Teachers, coaches, classmates, everyone. She always worked as hard as she could in class, and teachers noticed. That work ethic carried over onto the field as well. Coaches did nothing but sing her praise. And the collective student body adored her. She was a good friend, and an all-around fun girl to be around. A great sense of humor teamed with miles of compassion.
She was three years older, so we were never in the same school after elementary. That meant that once I entered middle school and high school, she had just left. And of course, I was always "Little Salvini." But hey, I didn’t mind. It opened a lot of doors for me. I was automatically on every teachers’ good side. Anyone that knew my sister, was instantly my friend. It seemed that she had built quite the reputation for the Salvini name, and carrying it on where she left off was not too difficult, I must say.
Of course, there were always a few downsides. I can’t remember how many times I had to hear "Man, Kenny, you are sister is HOTTTT!!!" Oy. And it did it get annoying having to constantly say "no, I won’t set you up with my sister, she’s too good for you." The feelings were mutual, I guess. She always calls me Brother, and will always think the world of me. I found out later that a few of her friends expressed a little interest in me from time to time, but she would not allow it. No one is good enough for her brother, or ever will be.
Eventually I was finally done high school, and the nicknames slowly faded away (well, some of them), leaving me to become just Kenny. We both grew up, but remain just as intensely as close today. She has grown into an amazing woman, and an even more incredible mother of two of the most beautiful girls on the planet. Her name is Amanda Michelle, but her friends call her Mandy. I call her Mando. Personally, I’ve been called lots of things, but to this day I can say that I’m most proud to be simply…
Mandy’s little brother.