I love being…Jenni’s brother

16 Nov

We go through life with a series of titles, which normally point to our relationship to people that we are tethered to in the mind of someone else.  So, to you, I may be Phil’s friend or George’s boss or your former employee.  But there are a few titles that I wear as a badge of honor.  Over the few weeks to begin November I am writing about some, which are major identifiers to me.  Today, I stumble upon my sister, Jenni West.  In fact, I almost didn’t even write this one, because I thought, “Noone knows me as Jenni’s brother.”  Then, as Jenni challenged the quantity of my friends, I began looking at them and realized there were several who probably think of me as Jenni’s brother.  So, this became an appropriate concept.

Jenni West was born when I was less than a year old, so I can not really remember life without her.  There are interesting things that we always decided to argue on, like I insist that there was a time when she had “J-E-N-N-Y” on her wall, while she says she always has spelled it in the current way.  She insists that I always instigated everything, while I know I am not creative enough to come up with the rouses.  I merely had the guts to carry out her plans.:)  However, I think we can both remember from a very early age that we were encouraged to get along as “one day, we would be the only friends each other have.”  Fortunately, I don’t think we are the only friends of each other, but I can say, I am glad that we are friends.

Growing up, I think all of us are a little self-centered.  We all grow to see the world in our own unique way.  Parents pretend like they enjoy the same things we do, so it furthers our level of ego-centricity.  But I was very blessed to have someone to show me the exact opposite approach to almost everything.  I don’t think I knew anyone that looked at things as differently from my perspective as my sister.  And, obviously, she had someone to gently point out the other side for her as well.  Even the things that we enjoyed doing together (like Bible Quiz), we approached from two totally different perspectives.  This was phenomenal for me, and I hope it served her well also.  Even today, our expertise is varied enough that we are able to help each other out.

But, as I look back, none of the people who know that story of us growing up are those who know me as Jenni’s brother.  The great thing about siblings is that they go off and do something different from you.  They have a shared history with you that is so identical that you understand each other, but then they have a history that is so different that you look at it and wonder, “How could a child from the same house as me have done that?”  Jenni and I have shared some rough times, as all siblings seem to, but ours were much less than what I perceive to be normal, and Jenni has gone out and built a life that is so cool and so very different from me.  She has become exposed to a group of people that I otherwise would never know.  But I know Jenni well enough, that some of these people I am now proud to call friends.  And that is uber-cool, even if they know me as Jenni’s brother!  I am so glad that I get to be Jenni’s brother.


3 Responses to “I love being…Jenni’s brother”

  1. Jenni November 19, 2011 at 2:21 am #


  2. Ann West November 19, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    There was a time when Jenny was on her wall and then one day I bought an "I" and changed it forever. I just thought since you spell Jennifer that way, I would just shorten her name. Too funny that you remember!!

  3. Janie Upchurch November 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Hi Matt, I enjoyed your post about being Jenni's brother. Here is a story for you. Once when your mom had an all day real estate test, I kept you and Jenni for the day. I think Emily was five, Ellen was three, and you and Jenni fit in and around their ages. I was very pregnant with Elise, and I already had the nursery set up for her. I put Emily and Ellen to bed for a nap in their room and Jenni in the crib and you on a day bed in the nursery. Wow. Now time for me to take a break. Not. As I walked down the hall, I kept smelling what seemed to be a dirty diaper, but I thought it was the lingering smell from the one I had rinsed out in the toilet just before putting everyone to bed. (Rinsing diapers in the toilet is another story in itself.)Soon, I heard noise in the nursery. When I checked, Jenni had dirtied her diaper and was playing in it. She was rubbing it on all the rungs of the crib and up the wall. Meanwhile, you were giving her one stuffed toy after another, which she would hold in her poop covered hands and throw out onto the carpet. It suddenly became bath time for the West children and I guess I let you skip your nap since there was no place to sleep. I don't remember. I do remember that your mom passed her test and I passed mine. :-)))Mrs. U.

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