Thank You Brandon

By Anonymous, Age 17

I never could beat Brandon in Nintendo track and field. It seemed no matter how hard I ran in place on that old Nintendo power pad, I lost in the end. Whether it was the long jump, the hurdles, or the 100 meter dash, the results were always the same. I lost and Brandon won. Brandon was better than me in all aspects of the game, but even more so, he was knowledgeable in the aspects of life. I guess that is why I admire him. I guess that is why he is my role model.

My biological father left my mother soon after he found out about the pregnancy. Nine months later, I was born an only child into a family and a generation of women. I had eight nieces and three nephews, all which were at least four years older than me. I grew up with girls, drank tea with girls, and played Barbie with girls. I lived with my Mother and Grandmother and I was taught and disciplined by both of them. Although I was never lonely growing up, I still wished I could had a male figure around to grow up with. Having never had a father figure in my life only made things tougher for my Mother. Sometimes questions would arise that are better answered by fathers, but my Mother always did her best to answer even the most complicated problem. Most of the time my Mother played both Mother and Father in my life, but a time came when she just couldn’t continue play both roles that is when my cousin Brandon stepped in. From the age of seven up until today, Brandon has served as my role model and my father figure in life.

Brandon can only be described as the epitome of the word mentor rolled up into an athlete’s body, with wisdom and knowledge of an elder, and the love and compassion of a fellow brother. To me, Brandon was like a father who didn’t discipline but explained the do’s and don’ts of life through his own personal experiences. He served as brother to play with, grow up with, and look up to. To me, Brandon was my father figure, he was my role model. Over the years, I’ve learned more from his experiences then an friend or teacher ever taught me. His respect, determination, and self confidence are just some facets of his character I’ve tried to model myself around. His influence on my life has been immense, to say the least, and I can not even begin to describe how much I owe this man.

As time has passed, I’ve seen the roles flip. Many of my nieces and nephews have had children and in the new generation the boys outnumber the girls. Brandon has gone on to college in Boston and we do not see each other like the old days. It’s kind of funny how time changes thing. I don’t want to let go of my past but I look forward to the future. The little ones look up to me now and I’ve become the role model. It is my obligation to lead them down the right paths in life. I must encourage and assist them on their journeys. Now I have to live up to the legacy of Brandon.