When I was little, my mom would insist things had to be kept "even stevens" between me and my brother, who's named Steven. I would take great offense to this, vehemently chiming in, "And Sharons! Even Stevens and SHARONS!"
Steve is four years older than me, and of course, being the typical little sister, I've always wanted to bridge the gap. I wanted to go to prom and graduate from school and get a good job, but when I was ready to take a step, he'd already jumped ahead.
He proposed to my future sister-in-law, Lemery, about five months before Greg's big Arizona plan. They're opting for a longer engagement so they can get married on a day meaningful to them, and with our timing arrangement, Greg and I will have our big day a few months earlier. So for once, I'm going first! And it feels awesome — not because I finally get an edge on sibling rivalry, but because it gives me warm fuzzies to have such camaraderie with my big brother.
Steve and Lemery at a 2009 holiday party. (personal photo)
We've exchanged texts, e-mails and long phone calls about planning our weddings. He's helped me scope out potential venues in the Bay Area, taking photos and telling me the situation in the no-nonsense way boys use. We've talked guest-list woes and budget worries, and only he can understand my stressed-out sputtering about trying to navigate delicate conversations with our parents.
The best part about it all is that he's helping usher me into the next stage of life. Despite his mischievous tendencies and my resulting whining of our youth, we managed to have special moments finding weird humor in movies and TV shows, taking photos on family vacations and being generally crazy. As I ventured away from San Francisco, our relationship was still playful with perhaps the smallest dash of maturity.
Me and Steve with G-pa Chin (my mom's dad) in May. (personal photo)
But now, I really feel like we are equals: two adults ready to start our own families. And for the first time, he's not just leading me; we're helping each other figure things out, and I can't wait to give back for his guidance that's gotten me this far.