11 Truths Of Having A Sibling Who Is Significantly Younger Than You

11 Truths Of Having A Sibling Who Is Significantly Younger Than You

No, I'm not his mom.
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I'm eleven years older than my little brother, and when he was born, my sister and I had no idea what we were in for. Having a sibling with such a large age gap is completely different than having one who's closer in age to you, and it can take some getting used to. Here are some of the things that nobody tells you about being way, way, way older than your sibling.

1. People think you're their mom...

One of the first times I was out walking with my brother a woman came up to me and asked if he was my son. I was pretty surprised — I was eleven! Since then I've gotten a lot of odd and disapproving stares when in public with him because they think I'm a teen mom. Nope, sorry, he's just my brother (but so what if he wasn't?).

2. ... and even though you're not, it sometimes feels like it

Dirty diapers, bottle feeding, bathing, babysitting...my sister and I helped our parents with all of it. We volunteer at school events and help him with his homework. It's exhausting but amazingly rewarding.

3. You watch a LOT of children's movies and TV shows and eventually grow to like them.

At this point, I consider myself to be an expert on "Paw Patrol," "Thomas the Tank Engine," and Disney's "Cars" franchise. I've seen "The Emoji Movie" and "Despicable Me" more times than I ever wanted to and wound up not hating them.

4. Your friends become completely obsessed with them

I like to joke that my brother has, like, ten older sisters, because all of my friends love him so much. They come to his baseball games and school dances and birthday parties, just like my sister and I do. It's really sweet, and everyone always has fun.

5. You often find yourself reliving your childhood

My brother has a lot of the same toys that my sister and I did, and he goes to the same elementary school. Even though it's been years, as I watch him learn to read and lose his teeth, it feels like I did that just yesterday. I was starting to apply to college when he was in kindergarten, so it was nice to be able to hold onto childhood for a little while longer.

6. Sometimes, you feel bad being a normal teenager

It always breaks my heart when I go out and my brother clings to my leg to ask me to stay and play with him, or when I can't watch a movie with him because I'm doing my homework. It takes a little while to learn how to balance family time and time for yourself.

7. You become a fierce protector

I'm a total "helicopter" sister. I worry about him constantly, and probably (definitely) baby him more than I should. But it's just because I want him to be safe, and if anyone ever hurt him, they would not want to cross me.

8. They'll make you beam with pride

Everything my brother does makes me incredibly proud. Made a drawing in art class? Awesome! Learned how to tie his shoes? Incredible! Hit the ball off the tee? Sports star! It's so amazing watching this tiny human grow up and do normal "people" things, and you'll tell everyone you know how proud you are.

My camera roll is also, like, 75% pictures of him.

9. You'll be there for the harder parts of growing up...

The terrible twos, teething, tantrums...you're there for it all. And it'll drive you crazy.

10. ... but you're there for the good stuff, too

You get to see them take their first steps, get on the bus for their first day of school, and you get to do the whole "Santa" thing all over again. It's fun to have a little kid around, because there's always a lot of fun stuff going on.

11. And, finally, you'll have a new best friend

The relationship between my brother and I is unique because it's that of a sibling, caretaker, and friend all in one. I let him do stuff that our parents wouldn't (like staying up late on a school night) but I also have to tell him to eat his vegetables. We have a lot of fun together but we also have stupid fights.

But at the end of the day, he'll always come and jump up on me and give me a hug, and we can always have a laugh together. With a sibling this much younger, you'll get a best friend.

Cover Image Credit: Mary Lind

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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.
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I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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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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