I am the eldest of three siblings. And I don’t like it at all. As the eldest, I was the experiment. Everything got tested out on me first – rules, parenting tips, new foods – everything.
Being the eldest, I had to fight for each new concession. Whether it was getting my ears pierced, walking to the store or going out with friends, it was a constant struggle to prove that I was old enough, responsible enough, trustworthy enough to spread my wings. My siblings had it easy – I’d already paved the way, made my parents more relaxed.
Another thing about being the eldest – I was responsible for everything. Feel like a night out? Instant (and free) baby-sitter. Siblings being picked on? I had to protect them. Younger siblings bored? Entertain them! When something naughty was done and no-one owned up, guess who was the scapegoat? Being the oldest sucks!
Despite all this, I love my siblings. Though we are very different people. I am the conservative in the bunch. I left school and started a family young. I’ve never been to a nightclub, smoked a cigarette or taken drugs. I’ve never even been drunk (though I have definitely been tipsy a few times). I’ve only just now gotten around to getting driving lessons. The worst thing I ever did was to shoplift a loaf of bread so I could spend the bread money on lollies.
My brother and sister were typical teens. Party all night, sleep all day. They wagged school, smoked cigarettes, drank, experimented with drugs, did the whole backpacker thing. In fact we lost contact for several years because I didn’t want my kids around the whole drug scene. We are back in contact now, though.
My brother travelled a little and married a beautiful Swedish girl. He is trying to give up cigarettes after a health scare. He has moved back to Australia in order to work and save money while his wife finishes studying in Sweden. He is so tall, I used to be paranoid the ceiling fan would chop off his head. He looks great in just about anything.
My sister is the liberal of the bunch. She is still young and idealistic – out to save the world. She has backpacked through Australia and England, visited India and lived in Canada for a while. She now works in Adelaide regenerating wetlands. She is a brilliant artist but lacks confidence in her ability. She thinks we are just being biased when we tell her how good her art is. In other aspects of her life, she is very confident. She has always stood up for herself – in fact she is the only one of us who ever dared stand up to Dad. They used to have the biggest rows!
I love my brother and sister. I miss them. Growing up as the eldest may have sucked, but it doesn’t matter so much now we are older. And I do have something to be thankful for – I was not an only child.
- Sibling Rivalry (gentlepawspetcare.wordpress.com)
- Standing Beside our Siblings (quietnessoftheheart.wordpress.com)
- Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons shows how to push your sibling’s buttons (joystiq.com)
- Siblings Grieve Too (lugenfamilyoffice.com)
- Harbaugh Brothers: A Healthy Sibling Rivalry? (health.usnews.com)