It feels like only yesterday when I wrote you a letter very similar to this one for your graduation day. I really had to wrap my mind around the fact that I wrote that column over two years ago, when you were first embarking into adulthood. Now, you are taking a whole new step in the adult phase of life, and this time, apparently I'm driving.
It's hard to imagine that 21 years ago, I got a phone call at 8:30 a.m., telling me my new baby brother had been born. I remember holding you when you got home from the hospital. I also remember taking pictures of you to school to show all my teachers and friends my new baby brother.
Then there were the growing up years. There were the baseball games, you having to sit through my dance recitals, family gatherings and other memories that I could go on and on about forever. But I won't. The column would never end and I would totally embarrass you.
Since I wrote your last letter, you have gone off to college, lived some "experiences," and have gone through more relationships in two years than I have had in my entire life. FYI, I like the new one. Don't mess it up.
You have lived through all of this, and I've been there with you through it all. Now, it's time that I'm with you on the next step in your life, your first legal drink. Because, as the State of Ohio says, you are now a man. At least in the yellow-driver's-license sense.
Now, I'm not naive enough to think that at the stroke of midnight last night, you took your first sip of adulthood. But though you probably think you know it all when it comes to the responsibilities of adulthood, let me throw some pieces of advice to you that I think will help you in your new found "manhood."
One, though it always feels good to say "this one is on me," say it sparingly - your bank account will thank you.
Two, - and this one will be based on how long the new girlfriend stays in the picture - there are a lot of pretty girls out there who will smile the pretty smile and say the right things all in the good will of something free. Don't fall for the pretty smile. I invented the pretty smile.
And last, but certainly not least, there is one word I have for you: Gatorade. Drink it, love it. It will become your best friend. Again, Grape G2 comes highly recommended.
Oh, my baby brother, I swear it was yesterday that you were running around our house in your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pajamas, playing Power Rangers and Pokemon. Now, you're all grown up, about six inches taller than me and able to say, "Sis, this one is on me."
Well Brett, one last word of advice, and this one was on me.
Over the years, I'm glad I can honestly write that we've never had that "sibling rivalry" and that (for the most part) we've always got along. Maybe it's the age.
P.S. I hope I'm allowed back at Up A Creek after whatever we did last night.
Dana Sulonen is a sports writer at the Tribune Chronicle.