Clarke Central High School junior Bria Echols (second to the right) poses for a photo with her twin sister Jamia Echols (far right), her father Byron Echols, who is holding her younger brother Byron Echols Jr., and her two former-step brothers Nicholas Gates (far left) and Jordan McDaniel (second to the left) at Zoo Atlanta on Sept. 30, 2015. Photo courtesy of Bria Echols
Clarke Central High School junior Bria Echols writes about her younger brother and how they were seperated for a year.
This was the second time my dad had to go through a divorce with a woman. First, it was with my mom and now it was with my former step mother. She gave birth to a very important person in my life: my baby brother Byron Echols Jr. or “BJ.”
I remember when I came back to my dad’s house where I would usually expect a running smiling face. I didn’t see him. I remember asking my dad, “Hey, where’s BJ?”
He said, “It’s complicated.”
There was a year where I couldn’t see BJ. A year went by. A whole year where I didn’t get to hear his voice. A whole year where I couldn’t be annoyed at him when he would come into my room. A whole year where I didn’t get to see his smiling face waiting at the door saying “my girls,” as Jamia and I came in.
It all meant something to me.
I missed his sixth birthday. I missed his first day of first grade. I missed spending Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter with him. All those valuable moments that I usually would be able to spend with him was gone.
I couldn’t ask how he was doing when I would come every other weekend. I couldn’t ask him about school. I didn’t see him. I wasn’t able to see him.
I had to watch my sister crying in tears because she couldn’t see him. I screamed and cried too, but on the inside. I wanted my baby brother.
I wished and longed for him everytime I would go to my dad’s expecting for him to be there, waiting for him to be there. The moment didn’t come for a long time.
After what felt like an eternity, it finally did. On Jan. 13, I was reunited with him. He was still the smiley and short little boy I remembered.
That year taught me to value the all the moments I have with family and loved ones. It can be taken away in an instant and shouldn’t be taken for granted.