An Unexpected Love


Regina Barrington

Kaitlyn Barrington holds her brother, Austyn Barrington, as they look out over the Grand Canyon. Her little brother was scared of the height, so she comforted him.

That morning is so clearly etched into my memory. The moment my life changed forever.

I awakened startled to the soft sound of a baby crying. In curiosity, I rushed out of my room to see who the sobs belonged to. There in my mom’s arms was Austyn, my cousin. He was three months old and a tragedy had already taken a very important person out of his life. Austyn’s mother had been in a car crash which had stolen her life the very next day.

I  overheard the conversation my parents had while my older sisters, Cheyenne and Tiffany were holding Austyn. “How long do we have to keep him?” my dad asked. “Just for a couple of weeks,” my mom replied. They have never been more wrong.

Unfortunately for me, Austyn began taking my place as the youngest child. I had no idea what to think. All of a sudden, I had responsibilities as a six-year-old. I had to do dishes, take out the trash, help clean my bedroom and most importantly help take care of Austyn. To my surprise, I found Austyn to be unbearable. Every time I went to sit next to my mom, he was in her arms.  Every time I talked to my dad, Austyn captured his attention. Every time I wanted to play with Cheyenne and Tiffany, I found Austyn had taken my place. However, I grew to love him over time.

Even if there was no signed paper stating that he belonged to my family, he would never be anyone other than my brother.”

— Kaitlyn Barrington

There was something captivating when Austyn wrapped his entire hand around my finger sticking to me like glue. To my dismay, Austyn seized my attention and interest after a few weeks. Even though it would not be my first choice to have a little brother, Austyn changed my heart with his blonde hair and green eyes.

After having custody of Austyn for six years, my parents decided it was time to adopt him. He would officially be my brother, but the strange thing is that he already was. Even if there was no signed paper stating that he belonged to my family, he would never be anyone other than my brother.

Neither blood nor signed documentation makes a family. It was my choice to consider Austyn as my brother, and I would never take back that morning I heard him crying. To this day, we get on each other’s nerves and poke fun at each other, but no matter what I will always love him with everything inside of me.