I’ll never know the depths of being the spoiled-rotten youngest child, or the bitterly-forgotten middle child, but I will always know the melancholy-excitement of being the oldest child.
In all of my grade school biographies, when asked when the best day of my life was, I would always say it was a tie between my brother’s birth and my sister’s birth. Now that I think about it, I wish I would’ve said the birth of my dog so neither of them would complain about being the favorite. This brings me to my first highlight of being the oldest sibling: favoritism. I definitely know I’m not the favorite, and I know for sure that my sister isn’t either… and then again neither is my brother. In the most endearing way possible my mom often tells us that we piss her off all the same. Whenever one of us gets in trouble, the other two work together to put the other to shame by doing chores and offering up to God or woes. Life is a constant race to be the favorite, whether we realize it or not.
Realizing that I’m sort of a mother-figure to my sister was the strangest thing that’s ever happened to me. It first shocked me not too long ago when my sister told me about her first crush- an athletic boy much like herself, who has a nice butt because he plays baseball. Next on the list of the oldest sibling agenda would be secrets. It’s always something special to know that your siblings would rather tell you that they broke their bike or lost a $50 bill than my Mom. On a more personal note, there is a strong bond between my siblings and I because of all the things we’ve learned from simply being a part of my family. Do you know how much it killed me not to tell my brother that my Mom was Santa Claus? Sure you don’t, but I can tell you it was damn hard and he was such a baby about it.
The only fist fight I’ve ever had in my life was with my brother in the backyard, three hours after my new neighbors told my parents how lovely and well behaved we were. I was the puncher and my brother was the scratcher, leaving us both injured and without a problem solved. Fighting is something that the oldest sibling is either a part of or a mediator of. In my old age, I’ve found myself to be more of a mediator, especially considering the ugly rivalry between my brother and my sister. Sometimes it’s like they’re the best of friends, and other times I wonder how they are related. In retrospect, these fights are often about absolutely nothing, but some of my favorite arguments include: what to eat for dinner, who Mom loves more (me), who loves the dog more (me), who does the most work around the house (definitely me), who has the most friends (definitely not me), etc.
One of the most important things I’ve learned in being the oldest sibling is to love my brother and sister no matter what. The bond we share is nothing short of harebrained and erratic, yet at the same time it can be cool and collected. I want every day to be the time my mom took us to the beach at Atlantic City during the sunset; we ran alongside the waves and it was as if nothing could possibly make the moment fade. I will never go a day without either one of the nutballs crossing my mind at least once. My sisterly instinct is always intact- and while I share sibling intuition more with my brother because of our age and similarities, I am able to read my sister like a book. I pride myself in being able to talk to my siblings in a way that nobody else can, because they trust me in a way they cannot trust everyone else. I owe them my life, because what they have given me is something I will always be thankful for- a lifetime friend.
So while I will never know what it’s like to be the youngest child or the middle child, I will know what it’s like to be the big kahuna with the most amazing brother and sister.