“Family Matters,” Brandon Maximovich (2014) — Inquiry 1

Writer’s Reflection

As I sit here to look back and reflect on my first college essay, I am able to say that I am actually proud of what I have done. I feel that my skills as a writer have grown exponentially over the years, and this piece serves as a great showcase for my skills. This is because I have learned how to become a writer through many years of practice in high school. If it weren’t for the high school English department, I may of never learned the ability to go back and edit my own papers in the way that I do now. To me, editing is a huge portion of an essay. It is not something that should just be viewed as a safety step, but instead as a necessary and crucial one. I not only edit my own paper carefully, but I also have others read over it to add their input as well. With this essay, it was very easy for me to receive feedback on my writing due to the workshops we used in class.

My writing style is unique. I say this because I write just as I would speak, and not many are able to do this. Also, as an individual I think that no one else would be able to write/speak in the way that I do because it is my own voice. I like to capture the readers attention by adding funny things into my essays; things that you wouldn’t expect to be in a formal writing. I try to make each paragraph flow into the next with ease. I choose to write this way because I feel that writing should be very similar to speaking. You have to be able to convey your thoughts through writing just as you would through speech. It’s all about separating yourself from the pack; individualism. This writing was different than anything I’ve ever written before because it deals with a less formal topic. Throughout high school we would write about things that we had read or learned about. Rarely was I ever given a paper with a prompt that asked me to write about my own experiences. Granted my senior year I did have one essay that did involve a similar topic to this essay, but it is still all very new to me. I like writing in this style because it lets me showcase my ability to write as I would speak.

One sentence from my writing that really sticks out to me is one that came from my third paragraph. It reads “Whether it be a temper tantrum at Toys R’ Us or a mental breakdown at our cousin’s birthday parties, you could always count on Brady to destroy your day.” This sentence sticks out to me because it really paints a picture in my mind and takes me back to those moments. I remember every little detail of what occurred at those points in my life like it was yesterday. I find this strange because you look at it and think “this is just a sentence about your little brother throwing a hissy fit”, when really it’s much more than that. I enjoy looking back and remembering these moments of my life. I’ve never written anything like this because I’ve never had the opportunity to. In high school, we were never given much opportunity to express our own stories and thoughts. This prompt allows me to do that, and I feel that because of this I will be able to grow much more as a writer.


We’ve all got that one person in our lives that constantly gets underneath our skin. Sometimes we learn to avoid them. Other times we are able to simply talk things out. For me, neither of those options were available. This is because that person happened to be my little brother. With Brady, I was incapable of both avoiding him and reasoning with him. We are polar opposites in all aspects. He is fire and I am ice. He was the stereotypical “Little Brother”, always trying to annoy me and wanting my attention. Brady would do just about anything to ruin my day. Whether it was to tattle on me any chance he got or to take my favorite video games and break them, he always managed to work his magic. It was almost as if we were put on this Earth to never get along. Well, at least it seemed as if that were the case for the first 14 years of his life.

Brady came into my life when I was just four years old. The first few days weren’t so bad. I got to spend some time with my older cousins and see the rest of my family. As time progressed, my feelings towards having a little brother changed drastically. More and more attention started to be directed towards him, and this was something that I was not used to. For four years, I was the star of the show. I was the first born of my immediate family and cousins. My relatives would baby me and do just about anything to spend time with me. They’d take me on vacations to Disney Land, road trips to Niagara Falls, and everything else

a little boy would enjoy. Family members would beg my parents to let me stay with them for the weekend. As soon as Brady came along, the spotlight shifted. I started to feel like I was becoming old news. It was frustrating at first. I was very jealous of my new little brother. Eventually I became used to things, but there was always a lingering hatred towards my only sibling.

He was such a baby. He’d cry every Sunday while we were at church. During one mass, he became so fussy that he ended up giving our Priest the middle finger. Talk about embarrassing, the kid was only five years old. Events like this were common throughout Brady’s life. He quickly gained the reputation as the “Wild Child”. He was a little demon. Everywhere we went Brady would be causing a ruckus. Whether it be a temper tantrum at Toys R’ Us or a mental breakdown at our cousin’s birthday parties, you could always count on Brady to destroy your day. This was something that my parents were not used to. Raising Brady differed heavily from raising myself.

I had been revered as the “Good Boy” all my life, and somehow still carry that title to this day. My family would rave about how easy I was to raise and that I was always a pleasure to have. Brady brought my family and I an experience that was a bit different. He was stubborn. It took Brady almost 5 years before my parents were able to make him stop using his binky. He was persistent as well. Persistently annoying that is. Not a day went by where Brady was not getting on my nerves. I remember coming home one day to my entire fish tank lying on the floor, as Brady stood above the corpses of my vibrantly colored fish laughing. It didn’t stop there either. When he was four years old, he managed to make his

way into my room again. This time, he got into the hermit crab cage. Needless to say the hermit crab wasn’t with us anymore after that day. These events were minuscule compared to what was to come on my eighth birthday.

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a beautiful summer day in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. My entire family was over for my eighth birthday party, and Brady was being a total brat. The fact that it was my birthday and not his was eating at him. He couldn’t bear to watch me open another gift. I remember opening my last present, which was a massive box from my Aunt. When I tore off all the wrapping paper, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was the mini bike I had been begging for since Christmas. Immediately I tore the box open, and hoped on my new bike right away. I rode around the driveway for a little before deciding to take it to the streets. My brother trailed me in his battery operated Jeep, and we headed over to the Big Hill. The Big Hill was renowned as the biggest slope in my neighborhood, and everyone took their bikes down it at least one hundred times a day during the summer.

As I pushed my new bike up the hill, I watched Brady pass me by. As soon as I had reached the peak, I hopped on my mini bike and headed back down. There were a few problems here: No helmet, and no brakes. I’d say that I made it about a quarter of the way down the hill before my front tire got stuck in a grate on the side of the road. This projectile launched me face-first into a nearby mailbox. As I lay helplessly on the pavement, along came Brady to save the day. Traveling at top speeds down the hill in his mini Jeep, he showed no signs of slowing down. I don’t remember much after the mailbox, but from what I’m told

Brady ran me over. And it wasn’t pretty. Because of him I was admitted to the local hospital for a two days, and I’m still toothless to this very day. I ended up losing three of my front teeth, and was my face was bleeding profusely. Although it may have been an accident, it only added more fuel to the already blazing fire that we called our brotherly relationship. From that day forward, Brady and I were never the same.

Before, we were too young to hate each other. Sure we would be annoyed, but how could I hate a toddler? The next ten years of our lives were consistently miserable. We never were able to get along because we differed so heavily, and he loved to bring me misery. Sleepovers at the Maximovich residence were nearly impossible with Brady around. He would stay up as late as possible just to annoy my friends and I. I can remember a night in sixth grade where Brady put whipped cream on all of our faces and tickled our hands. As you can tell, he was never the sharpest tool in the shed. You might be wondering what this accomplished, and the answer is nothing. Well, except for a physical altercation that followed shortly after we removed all the whipped cream off of our faces. Bringing my girlfriend back to the house was also never an easy task. Every waking minute, Brady would be trying to get her attention by doing stupid magic tricks or by spying on us. Shenanigans like these continued throughout the decade until one day, something clicked.

I can admit that I wasn’t the angel that everyone pictured me to be in high school, and my brother knew that. One night, my good friend was throwing a party. My parents were in bed, and I knew that I was in the clear to sneak out. I

tip toed down the stairs, and low and behold is Brady waiting for me right at the bottom. “Where are you going?” he asked. I had to come clean. As much as I hated the kid, I also hate lying. I told him where I was going, and things actually went differently than I had thought. Instead of him pulling the typical “I’m telling mom” card, he instead decided that he “had my back”. This was something that I had never heard from my little brother. For fourteen years, Brady was nothing but a pest in my life. The night that I’m doing something wrong, he actually decided to be the coolest brother ever. Why he chose to come around and have my back on that night, I’ll never fully understand. Maybe it was just getting older that enabled us to become friends. Whatever the case, a certain level of respect was reached that night. The ball has been rolling ever since.

Brady and I are actually really close now. He has learned what I consider to be annoying, and we’ve reached a level where we are able to tolerate one another. We are still night and day, but that is something that we have managed to deal with as well. He has his interests and I have mine, there is nothing I can do to change that. We have been able to reach a common ground though, and that is what being a brother is all about. It may of taken 14 years for me to admit it, but I am now able to say that I love my little brother. The kid looks up to me like I’m his hero, and I respect him for that. I would do anything for Brady because he is my brother, and I know he would do anything for me. Everything has now come full circle in our lives. I’ve had a change of heart about our brotherly relationship, and I couldn’t be happier about that.