On Little Sisters

On Little Sisters

There is nothing more bittersweet than watching them grow up.
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If you are an oldest sibling, like myself, it is inevitable that eventually your reign of tyranny will become less and less powerful as your younger siblings begin to mature (thus learn to stand up for themselves). However, the simple fact that you are the oldest remains forever. So, while it does eventually stop becoming the only justification for the reason why your younger siblings should bring you water when you are too lazy to do so yourself, or why your younger siblings should be cramped in the middle seat, or why your younger siblings should get the couch in the hotel room while you get to relax in the big bed--it does provide for a unique perspective on your younger siblings that is unlike anything else.

I have two younger siblings, however my brother is only two years younger, and often acts as if he is the older sibling. My sister, on the other hand, is 6 and a 1/2 years younger than me. I still have vivid memories of my 6 year old self jumping for joy when I found out that yes, all my wishing and hoping was worth it, and the new sibling coming in June would be a girl-- a sister-- to my 6 year old self there was nothing better.

The perspective of an older sister is an interesting one, because you get to watch your mini-me grow up in real time. And as they get older you begin to notice things.

You notice that they roll their eyes at your dumb jokes that used to make them laugh. You notice they shut the door when their friends are over when they used to leave it open for you to walk in. You notice they shield their phone from you when you walk behind them when they used to not have a care in the world. You notice they pick out their outfit the night before school when they used to care so little about what they looked like. You notice they put on make up before they go out sometimes, and though they claim it's "just for fun", your heart tugs a little at the thought that they may not think they are as pretty without it. You notice they get wronged by friends--not just in the "she took my crayon" wronged, but truly hurt and have to sit by and watch as they solve their problems by themselves.

But you notice other things too--you notice that they make a joke that leaves you actually laughing, and not in the way that you laugh at a little kid's jokes, but in a way you laugh at a friend's. You notice that they come to you to discuss different things that happen in their friend's lives, and ask for actual advice. You notice that you can FINALLY begin to share clothes with each other, thus each begin raiding the other's closer. You notice that you can both laugh over the fact that neither of you know how to properly put on eyeshadow, so you end up with bright pink eyes. You notice that you can go to them with things that upset you, and they can give you genuine advice. You notice that you don't talk to them how you talk to children anymore, you talk to them like they are grown up. You notice that they are no longer just your baby sister, they are your best friend.

Watching a little sister grow up is one of the most bittersweet things I have yet to experience. You watch her innocence get replaced with knowledge and unscathed heart become a little worse for wear as she maneuvers her way through this rollercoaster called life.

But, there is much more sweet than bitter. You watch her smile and laugh and learn and grow up to become someone you are proud to call your best friend. And you know that no matter what life throws at either of you, you will stand by, support, and love each other forever.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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To The Older Sibling I Never Had, I Wish You Were Here To Guide Me

I know you don't exist, and I know you never will, but sometimes I catch myself imagining a life with you in it.

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Even though years have passed since this horrific day, it still haunts my memory. Starting high school is a terrifying feeling and an insane transition when you don't have anyone to guide you through it. It was a mere 15-step walk to the door, and once I was inside my parents promised me there would be somebody there to help me find my classes, so why did I feel like I was being thrown straight into the gates of hell? I counted down the minutes until we pulled into the school parking lot and dreaded the sound of the car door opening and the anticipated start to the "best four years of my life."

As we were pulling up, I saw a girl who went to the same middle school as I following her older brother, who was a senior through the front doors as if it had been rehearsed at home. At this moment, I would have given my right foot to walk in her shoes right behind an older brother just this once. Eventually, with no place to hide, I just walked inside.

Unfortunately, this would not be the last of my longing for guidance from the older sibling I've never had.

I get it, I got a B in math. I get it, if I would have spent last Friday night studying instead of out with my friends it is possible that I could have gotten an A. But, what my parents seemed to not get was that life actually does go on even if you get a B on a report card. Time doesn't stop, your dreams don't diminish, and you are still viewed as a fairly competent person.

Luckily for my younger sisters, it seems my parents eventually did get it at the cost of my phone being taken away for three months and my social life ceasing to exist for the rest of that school year. As I spent every Friday night at home studying I longed, for just this once, to have an older sibling who was willing to take this hit for me.

Why did nobody tell me that it's actually more fun to go to school dances with friends than the boy you barely know who is just desperate for some conversation with the opposite sex?

I always wondered why that girl I went to middle school with never took a date to any of our formals or homecomings. Eventually, four homecomings and two proms later, I realized that this was because stumbling through the awkward introductions to family, tolerating the completely posed and overdone photos that would never actually be posted anywhere because you didn't talk outside of this forced interaction, and small talk over fruit punch and loud music was never actually necessary. Of course, I passed this message to my younger sisters and saved them the struggle of finding out for themselves.

Don't even get me started on being the first sibling to have to navigate applying to colleges.

I really could have used you then. I'm convinced there is nothing more difficult than trying to fill out a FAFSA or Common Application with absolutely no guidance or experience. Is my application essay long enough? Should I apply for early or regular admission? What if I don't get accepted anywhere? As selfish as it sounds, I would have given my other foot not to have to find these things out for myself.

I'd trade a lifetime worth of shotgun privileges to have you in my life to help me figure this stuff out.

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