Better than brothers

Junior reflects on life with nephews

Story by Ricky Cooks, staff writer

My siblings are all girls that also happen to be a lot older than me. It kind of sucked being the youngest and the only boy because I was never interested in what my sisters were (a.k.a. Justin Timberlake). I didn’t have any guys at home to play G.I. Joe with, or even ride bikes with. I never realized it then, but I longed for a brother. However, already being so separated in age from my sisters, I doubted that my parents would have another child five years after me. I didn’t know what I was going to do.

Flash forward to 2006. At the early age of seven years old, I received the news that I was going to be an uncle. My oldest sister, who lived in Dallas as the time, had my niece, who is now a beautiful young lady. Her birth made me feel a little older, more mature and more responsible. However, it was tough because I only got to see her a few times every year. Also, she was a girl, and at the time I thought I was related to enough of those.

Go forward another year and a half to June 2008. My youngest sister had just graduated high school, and revealed the news that she was pregnant. Confused but excited all at the same time, I patiently waited for the birth. I remember going to my sister’s baby shower celebrating the future birth of Tacorien Deshuan Lee Owens, my first nephew.

He was born later that year in December, and from the very first moment I saw him, I was absolutely entranced. I wanted to do everything and anything for him, whether it be changing his diapers or giving him his bottle. My sister moved back to the house for a while, so I was able to see him every single day. I watched him grow up—cooing and crawling to walking and talking. It was amazing. I played with him, and his laugh made anything that was wrong okay. I had found my brother.

Even better than one nephew is two. In the spring of 2010, my sister told the family that she was expected another child. At the time, she didn’t know the gender, but I’ll never forget the moment she told me how excited she was for me to meet the baby boy. I was sold. My second nephew, Braylon Allen Deshaun Owens, was born in January of 2011. It was like a second Christmas. Everything that I had learned about babies with my first nephew made me even more responsible for my second. Life was amazing, and so were my nephews.

I’ve been there for a lot of my nephews’ lives: school, losing baby teeth, learning to read and write and even using technology (these new generation kids, am I right?). There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about “my boys.” They’ve grown up so much over the years and I can’t say it any other way: they’re my biggest blessings.

Because of them, I now believe that everything happens for a reason. My sister was fresh out of high school when she had my first nephew, but my life would be so different if the boys weren’t so close in age to myself. Because of them, I finally have people to be a role model for. They’ve made me grow up a lot, and I have become a much more responsible person. I see myself in them every time they’re around, and I’m proud of the boys they’ve grown to be.

I can’t imagine my life without my nephews—my brothers. Senior year is approaching, and as it gets closer, I realize that I’m going to have to leave them when I head off to college. While I’m still here with them, I just feel so incredibly blessed that they were put into my life. They fill every hole in my life with laughter, smiles and endless memories. I love them more than anything else.

So this story is a thank you to my nephews for being the brothers I never had. I’m not going to lie, at times, they are more annoying than I can take (as any little brothers are), but every moment with them is worth it all. I love them more than anything else, and can’t imagine my life without them.