I always feel bad for people who don't have little brothers. Little brothers are so handy. When they are very small they can give you a massage by walking on your back. Then they get a little bigger, and soon, they are arm-rest size. At this stage in their development they can also be put to work as stress balls. I used to throw mine around the room, and he would bounce up cheerily and come back for more. The joy of a having an amenable nine-year-old boy around the home.

But I no longer have an arm-rest-size little brother. My youngest little brother is growing up. He is a head taller than me. He no longer squeaks. When I tried to revive our old tradition of me throwing him around the room, he respectfully tossed me onto the couch using only one pinky. Being a chivalrous young man, he aimed me for a soft surface.

I know little brothers grow up. It is in the nature of what little brothers do. But still, it is a little disorienting. The ways I used to shower him with sisterly love don't apply anymore. There is no need for me to play Chinese checkers with him or take him rollerblading. Instead, I give him affectionate taps. Sometimes I ask permission, but mostly I ambush him. "Get used to it, little brother," I say.

But I am the one who has more to get used to. I keep mistaking him, out of the corner of my eye, for second-to-youngest brother. Now youngest brother, too, astonishes me with his deep voice and his giraffe-like ability to get things from high shelves.

I am also impressed by his burgeoning vocabulary. After a recent ambush tap (he had been playing Solitaire with such irresistible composure), he told me: "Sister, you're so startling."

Whoever knew my little brother could select such a meaningful adjective? I wear it like a badge. I post it as a Facebook update: "N. Ozick is so startling."

My little brother is becoming brainy and large, but that is not all. Something is sprouting inside of him that I did not see coming. He gives off an aura of maturity.

The symptom: Today, he bought me a Slurpee with his own money. When he was arm-rest-sized I bought him hundreds of them, and now he bought one for me.

How timely, actually. Passover commemorates our childhood as a nation, when G‑d took us out of Egypt: "For, when Israel was young, I loved him, and from Egypt I called My son" (Hosea, 11:1). Then we began to develop ourselves, step-by-step, until we were ready to receive the Torah at Sinai.

We were taken out of Egypt because of G‑d's love for us, like children. Now it is time for us to grow up and make something of ourselves.