The Youngest Child Struggle

What It Really Means To Be The Youngest Child

Birth order stereotypes aren't a great reason to claim you understand someone.

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People tell me that I'm the "stereotypical youngest child," whatever that means exactly. Usually, people throw it around to mean the parents' favorite, the one who rules don't apply to, or that I'm "the baby." But those labels tend to come the most from people who didn't grow up as the youngest.

I am my parents' third and last child--all of whom were girls. When I was born, my mom quit her job to raise the three of us. When both my sisters were in school, I was woken up during my naps to go with my mom on errands and to pick them up. I was always with my mom, I rarely ever had a babysitter. When I started first grade, my mom started a new job where she was a teacher assistant for first-grade classes at a different school. So when I got off the bus in the morning, my mom was still waiting for me. Because of this, my mom and I have always been very close. That is why people believe I'm the favorite child--even though I can promise you I'm not.

As I got older, my mom got different jobs and worked different hours and I started spending less and less time with her. I was constantly involved in other things. I have played sports since I was three years old. My parents enrolled me in ballet because my sisters did it. Two years later, my parents signed me up for softball. Two years after that, I started basketball. All of those things came about because my two older sisters had done them. While basketball was my choice to start, the other two really weren't. I found that I stuck to sports longer than my sisters did, that I tended to be better at sports than they were, as I was naturally more athletic. I did ballet for a little under ten years, softball until I got to high school and basketball through freshman year in high school. Sports were a major part of my life--and still kind of are, just now in a more observer role than a participant. Although I made them my own, they began because of my sisters. And so I was always compared to them.

Don't even get me started on academics. For some reason, I got the smart genes in my family. In high school, my oldest sister got a few C's, but mostly B's and some A's. My other sister was a solid A/B student. When I finished the first semester of sophomore year, I was a straight-A student. However, the following semester, I got a B in AP European History. One B, mind you, and my parents were furious. B's had been commonplace for my sisters, but for me, they were poison, apparently. I ended up getting only a few more B's in high school, and the lectures never ceased for a second.

When it came time for applying to schools, my dad had this four-hour limit--meaning I, nor my sisters, could go to a school farther than four hours away. Coming from the Chicagoland area, that wasn't necessarily a hard thing to do. However, I always wanted to go far away from home. The middle daughter in my family was able to stretch that rule to five hours. When my dad found out that I was looking into schools like NYU and UCLA, he shrunk mine back down to three and a half--four if he was in a good mood. If I went further, I'd have to pay for it. Originally, I had gotten into my dream school of NYU and accepted. My sisters were adamant that they'd help in any way that they could financially. However, after a few weeks of stewing on it, the guilt started to eat me alive. I knew I couldn't do it. I couldn't ask my sisters to pay for my college. So I gave up my dream to conform to my dad's rule.

And that's not to say I'm not happy at Butler, because I am--I've had so many opportunities here I wouldn't have gotten anywhere else.

But how's that for the "selfish child?"

My whole life my sisters have turned to me for advice. Whether the advice is about boys or friends or school or work or travel or secrets or how much they should actually divulge to Mom and Dad, they pretty much always turn to me. I have the least amount of experience with all of the above things out of the three of us (except the friends part probably) but they look for my opinion. In return, I'm not afraid to be brutally honest with both of them. And honestly, because of this, I sometimes forget that I'm actually the youngest out of us.

My point in all of this is that the youngest children aren't stereotypically anything. We're not always the parents' favorite, we're not all selfish. The rules don't always bend for us. But no one is there to see what happens at home after the older siblings leave for college and the youngest is alone. They don't witness the change in atmosphere. It's not always flowers and sunshine.

And, in all seriousness, we don't always need to be looked after. A lot of us find our own way to thrive on our own.

However, it takes us a long time to figure that out. We often live in the shadows of our siblings, expected to be like them, to follow what they do. Our siblings are the only examples we have. But once we figure out exactly what will make us happy, we fight hard for it. We take risks. We become a whole new person once we escape the shadows. And that's something no one can take away from us.

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To The Best Friend That Turned Into A Stranger

We were the type of friends that were so close people would mistake us for sisters. Then we went to college.

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When you hear the world soulmate you think of the person you're destined to spend the rest of your life with.

The person you marry, have kids with, and love unconditionally for the rest of your life. For me, I found my soulmate. Not in a boy, but in a best friend.

We were the type of friends that were so close people would mistake us for sisters.

Some even thought my little sister was your twin. We did everything together, and quickly you became apart of my family. I think you spent the last 4 years staying at my house more than your own. Even when I was 10 hours away at college you were still there with my family.

We went through the ups and downs of high school together.

We were there for each other through every heartbreak, trauma, and loss. Even 549 miles away from each other, I knew you would be there anytime I needed you because we always stuck by each others sides.

We even got tattoos together, because we were the type of friends that would never not be in each other's lives. When people saw me, they saw you. If you weren't around, they would ask where you were.

Until everything fell apart, I left college and you went to college.

We didn't see each other as often as we did but we still talked. I could feel you pulling away and I didn't know why. You found a new friend, and i am so happy you did because the last thing I would want, would for you to be alone in college. But you quickly replaced me. You would come home during breaks and spend 1 day with me and the rest with her.

The reasoning why you said you weren't spending time with me was hurtful, and it's not something I'll mention here. But just know it hurts. Asking for you to give me back the key I gave you for my house hurt.

I know you've been through a lot, and even after all the fighting, I reached out to you.

Because I will always care about you and love you like a sister. But you can only try so hard to fight for someone that doesn't want to be in your life anymore.

I hope you find pure happiness, you deserve it. Just know I miss you and I always will. No one prepared me for the pain I would feel when losing my soulmate.

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An Open Letter To Older Brothers, With All The Things Your Younger Brothers Won't Admit

This is what everyone with older brothers won't admit, so I'll do it for us all.

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Older Brothers:

As we get older, we definitely begin to grasp at the importance of our relationship with each other. More specifically, the path of substantial growth that develops and unfolds as we get older bewilders us, yet we find ourselves elated with the direction that it is taking. Although we used to unconditionally hate each other, times change substantially the older we become.

We all truthfully appreciate the weight of the growth more than you do, and we'll explain why further in this letter alongside the stages of our relationship.

Ironically, it is very hysterical to think as far back as we can remember to when we were little kids. We definitely caused our parents to be overwhelmed with extraordinary stress, but it did not matter to us. The first stage of our relationship was as innocent and peaceful as could be, at least before the storm arrives later on. We truly appreciate engaging in nothing but fun with you. You were our first tour guide in the world, and your hobbies became ours. We could often be found disappearing into endeavors, on a life or death mission as we saw it.

Simply put, we were in it together, whatever it was.

Even with small and insignificant bickering every once in a while, it never amounted to anything terrible. All we cared about was exploding with our energy and breaking the ornery meter with you. Thank you for embracing this first stage of enjoyment with us. It seemed to pass by incredibly fast, especially with stage two of our relationship on the horizon.

Stage two was a huge love-hate time. It was also by far the most growthful and helpful time for us, even though it certainly did not seem that way. As we entered into our pre-teens and then into middle school, all we cared about was undermining you. For some reason that we really do not know how to explain, we attempted to find an edge.

Stage two of our relationship was filled with fighting that usually ended in us losing. This specifically helped us to learn how to deal with crap. You also had all your high school friends more or less beat us up. You also always expected us to be at our best. As you progressed through high school, we were beginning to learn it all. This is where the love of love-hate came into play. Although we also never explicitly understood or acknowledged it, you inspired us. Being older, you had already experienced a lot and helped us through the worst.

Stage two was definitely a rollercoaster of love-hate (more hate in our minds), but we later learned you were dope.

In the final stage of growth in our relationship, we learned that we had and have a built-in forever best friend relationship. In our late high school years, college, and beyond, we finally realized the impact you had on us. You are honestly probably happier than us that we finally grew up, but we never admit we were and are the perfect duo, two peas in a pod. We grew up together and experienced a lot. So here's to us, even though we will always be better than you.

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