That isn't true any more. Vicky moved out and has been living with her boyfriend for something like a year now, but I noticed the change a while before that. She's done some silly things, but learned from them. She will probably make choices I don't agree with, but why should that mean anything? She's not stupid, not a child any more, she's making her life. I've found a lot of respect for her and her reasoning. I might not understand the things she'll end up choosing, but I'll feel sure she knew what she was doing.
Connor is eight years younger than me, but I've lost the arrogance of being the 'older, mature one', and instead I just see familiarity. Again another different life, different choices that I might not have made, but equally good ones. His concerns are different; he has school, the few responsibilities of teenage life, doesn't have to worry about a career or paying bills. Still young, but not a child like I always thought of him as until recently.
It's like I'm finally seeing them as individuals. Up until maybe a year or two ago they were just my brother and sister. Now they're unique people, with unique identities, that I want to get to know. People I could imagine meeting out in the world, talking to because we have something in common, not because they're 'family'. Family ties have always meant relatively little to me, I don't have any special attachment to them because of their status, I don't feel anything for them that I don't feel for my friends, and in fact I'd much rather think of them that way - as friends I have because they're good people, not because I have some kind of obligation to stick with them.
I feel a bit bad for ignoring them for so long. Particularly when Vicky was trying to get to know me, and I resisted. I didn't want to share anything about myself with anybody at the time, but I was unnecessarily harsh sometimes. Though, it actually makes me feel a little proud that she didn't let it do any damage; she wanted to 'be like me', but when I didn't have the time for her, she just found her own way instead. I don't know quite how they view me now... we still don't really talk much, and now all three of us live apart, but I've come to like the times when we get together, for birthdays and Christmas and such.
I never really give encouragement either. That's the way I act with everybody, not just them, but I wonder if it has any effect sometimes. I've never needed compliments or approval to feel good about myself or things I've done, probably because I never got them and learned to live without them. I tend to assume other people are the same though, and usually find that I'm wrong. People get the wrong idea because I only point out the bad, but it's just that my standards are high; doing something well should be normal not a special case, so it never occurs to me to point it out, but I am learning slowly that it is appreciated and can make a difference.
I feel I completely failed to make any kind of point there. I just knew I wanted to write something - I'd been reading Connor's latest entry, and ended up thinking about how the way I think of them has changed over the years. From annoying siblings to people with opinions I respect. That's probably as much a change in myself as it is in them, and I think it's noteworthy.