My brother Carl and I had a rocky relationship. He was funny, smart, and constantly insulting me, in that sarcastic way that guys do. I was more conservative, sensitive, and often covered up the hurt from his never-ending comments. Still, I loved him all the same.

I'd come back from school for break, and I'd noticed Carl had been nicer in some ways. He was still the funny, reckless kid I remembered, but now he wasn't so hard on me and seemed to, maybe, respect me. This I noticed, but said nothing about. But I was grateful.

We'd gotten our first snow a few days ago, and Carl—spontaneous as he is—brought in a snowball from outside. I was in the living room watching television when he walked in. I gave him a look, not of confusion but more like "Really?" complete with an eye roll. He was accustomed to this response of mine and wasn't bothered.

I don't know exactly how it started… maybe I suggested it. Somehow, we started playing catch. I was sitting on the couch, on the other side of the room from him, and we tossed the snowball back and forth. It was fun because a) I got to do something with him, and b) because it's not normal to play catch with a snowball inside, therefore making it all the more enjoyable. We did this only for a few minutes, before my mom came down and made us stop.

It was then that I began to realize he was growing up. That sounds like a paradox, given that we were throwing around snow in the house. But in terms of character, it's true. Carl was starting to see me as more of an adult rather than another sibling in the house. As good as he was at making insulting puns and using me as his target, I think he was starting to get comfortable with the idea of talking to me at my level rather than teasing condescendingly.

And I was right. Since then, we've had some really good conversations about the simplest or deepest things. I smile inside at those moments where he'd normally pounce on the opportunity to be a smart-aleck came and went, sometimes with a normal reply, sometimes in silence.

It's amazing to watch your siblings grow.