Opinion: Siblings Shape Who You Are


Saahir Mawani

My brother and I pose with my mom to take a picture on her birthday. With family being an idea that my brother and I value, we use birthdays as an opportunity to connect as a family.

Growing up, I thought everyone was like me.

It seemed everyone around me had a perfect older sibling who would do just about anything they asked. I quickly realized that wasn’t the case and that I was one of the few graced with an amazing example of a big brother. As long as I can remember, my mom told me that I’m the luckiest person in the world to have a sibling  like him in my life. I’ve always had someone to look after me, spoil me, deal with my tantrums and annoy the living daylights out of me. I wouldn’t change it for the world. 

As many young children are, I was extremely impressionable. Anytime someone I looked up to would do something, I associated that action with being a good person, vowing to repeat the same thing on my quest of becoming a better person. Regardless of what age I’ve been, whether it was 5 years old, 10 years old or now 15, I’ve always copied one person’s actions: my brother. 

He was my answer to everything. “Who’s your best friend?” My brother. “Who’s your role model?” My brother. 

Partially due to the way we were brought up, I can’t name a single time where my brother and I have gotten into an argument. While many people have to endure a few years of bickering before they reach a stage of contentment with each other, I did not. I would attribute my brother’s ability to tolerate me to our age difference. When I was born, my brother was 13 years old. I can only

My siblings and I pose for a picture in the ball pit at Color Factory NYC. Our trip together to New York City in the summer was a strengthening factor in our group dynamics.

imagine what it must have been like to have to deal with a newborn in the house during the formative years of middle school and dealing with a toddler during high school. Yet, I could never confirm if he felt any sort of resentment due to the way he took care of me. 

His caring nature and playful, positive attitude is one of the driving forces in my life. Being a naturally pessimistic person, I have

been impacted by getting to watch the way my brother took time out of his life to play with me and to teach me the ways of life. This changed the way I treat people around me.  

While in college, my brother met his future wife. My sister-in-law is yet another extreme influence in my life. She has accepted every facet of my imagination and entertained just as many. I’ve even gotten to have an individual relationship with her, often finding myself texting her the most random things. She has been yet another example of how to treat the people I care for, regardless of how I know them. Luckily, they both provided me with the opportunity to exercise the lessons they taught me and how to care for someone the same way they did. 

My sister-in-law’s younger brother is someone I’ve grown to care tremendously about as well. He always walks around with a smile on his face, and I’ve gotten to learn so much because of him. I’ve gotten to make some amazing memories with him, and I

My siblings and I pose for a picture outside of Jamatkhana, our religious place, after a morning ceremony. (Saahir Mawani)

can’t wait to make more. As selfish as it may sound, knowing I have someone who looks up to me keeps me in check. He makes me remember my quest to become a good person.

Having different ages within the siblings has been nice, but I’ve craved a sibling who may not be the same age, but matches my energy as a sibling. A fellow younger sibling, my sister-in-law’s younger sister was the exact person needed to match my energy in sibling dynamics. A combination of her enthusiasm for my crazy endeavors, the spontaneity of the youngest brother and the stability and maturity of both of the older siblings has turned into the secret combination of what I strive to be in the future.  

My siblings mean everything to me, blood related or not, and I’m so grateful that I get to make more memories with them every single day. And to my siblings, Happy National Siblings Day.