Simply dissimilar siblings


For those of you who have siblings, I can imagine you’ve wondered at one time or another, “How are we related?”

I found myself thinking something similar when I recently visited Fort Huachuca, Arizona, to see my younger brother graduate from his military training.

However, this question wasn’t rattling my brain the same way it did when I was bickering with my little brother as a teenager. Instead, I was simply struck by how different two siblings can be.

My brother, Salvatore (or as I lovingly call him, Torey), is only 16 months younger than I am. Since our family moved fairly frequently throughout our childhood, he’s the person I’ve spent the biggest chunk of my life with.

He’s one of my favorite people and I know he’s always good for a laugh, but I often describe him by saying I don’t know anyone else who is more opposite than me.

For one, I’m fully certain that my brother is inherently way smarter than I could ever hope to be. We’re talking about a kid who used to ask for History Channel documentaries on DVD for Christmas and who would read a world atlas for fun.

If it’s an obscure (or as he would say, “useless”) fact, I guarantee he knows it.

Despite all this natural curiosity and intelligence, Torey has no desire whatsoever to impress anyone. He just learns and does what he wants to. He’s definitely not selfish, but I think he sees most accomplishments or rewards as pretty superficial, if they’re mandated by someone else.

This mentality provides a nice contrast to that of someone like myself, who generally follows the rules and does what is expected of me.

It makes sense, then, that we would end up in very different places: me, in Ohio and him, in Arizona. One of us working with a college degree in journalism and the other with a top-secret security clearance from the Army.

Every time I spend time with Torey, I’m presented with a perspective completely different than mine, regardless of the fact that we grew up in the same household, in the same places.

I don’t know if I would have said this five years ago, but I now realize how much of an impact Torey has had on the way I think about things. There are very few people who have taught me more about appreciating others and genuinely considering their point of view and motives than my own brother has.

Still, there was something quite surreal to me about sitting in 100-degree weather, just miles from the Mexican border, to watch my little brother receive a certification in military intelligence.

At the end of his graduation ceremony, as I was forcing him to pose for photos, all he could say was, “I really can’t wait to get out of this desert.”

So, I guess we do have some things in common.

-Kayleen Petrovia is a reporter for the Journal-Tribune.

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