Oldest Sister

sister, sisters, siblings, children, oldest sister, youngest sister

I am the oldest sister.

I am the safety police. I will tell you when you aren’t wearing your seatbelt correctly. I will pull the car over and not drive until you fix it.

I am probably also the fun police.

I was considered old when I was 10. Old enough to help and have responsibilities and to be the bigger person. I believed in Santa Claus until I was 14. You (youngest sister) were still considered the baby at 10. Not expected to be in charge or responsible. But you also stopped believing in Santa Claus far before 10.

One of you is 2 years younger. One of you is 7 years younger. (Also, this is very confusing use of you, because mostly it is plural, but sometimes it is singular).

I am in charge of making sure we have everything. Of making sure everyone is here and gathered.* I will make sure we have all the tickets before we leave. I will make sure we have the maps. I will check for food and drinks, so that no one gets grumpy.

I will wake you up for school so we aren’t late. I will feed the animals in the morning so we aren’t late. I will drive to and from school while you fall asleep in the car and I listen to NPR.

I will spend hours and hours helping you with homework. Proofreading essays. Explaining algebra. Explaining calculus. Explaining organic chemistry. Because that is what I am expected to do.

Younger siblings are in charge of making the messes.

Of having the dance schedules and soccer schedules that rearrange our lives. I will drive to pick you up and do my homework in the car. I will wait after school for several hours because you have practice and people aren’t going to drive twice to pick me up then come and get you an hour later. But it is ok. I will do my homework at school and in the car.

I am in charge of cleaning them up.

I will stop doing my homework to help you with yours. I will arrange skype calls to help you at home to help when I am at college. I will make time in between my 3 jobs and classes and research to answer your questions. Because that is expected of me.

I am certainly not the fun sister. But I am reliable.

I will make sure you buy your flights home.

I will wake up early to check us in for our flights.

I will sit there when you yell at me for not ever understanding how hard it is to be the youngest. Because you don’t know how to be the oldest. (And if you hit me, I’ll hit you, too.)**

And even though we are all basically adults now, I will still keep an eye on you when we are out. I will make sure I always know where you are. Because that is general basic safety.

When I am home on vacation, I do your chores because you have homework and you’re busy.

I can’t tell you that anything is wrong with me. I can’t tell you about the depression*** or the autism (except actually the autism probably will get told eventually because it isn’t actually wrong), because my job is to fix problems. It isn’t to create them. But I can listen to you tell me about how you don’t have a boyfriend.

But it is ok, because you will go to the stores and buy me clothes so I don’t have to. Or have me sit in the dressing room and bring back sets of clothes for me to try on so I don’t have to go to the store. You will put my hair up in nice ways for school dances. You will introduce me to people.

You ordered for me at restaurants until I was in high school. You are the one in charge of asking for directions if we ever get lost (which admittedly, usually happens when I let you navigate.) You are the one who talks to strangers. You tell me who people are when I can’t recognize them.

You bring home new books. You go to strange places and bring home stories and magical cloth covered in sparklies and mirrors and bracelets and camels and birds.

And we played with our guys and our horses and our stories and shared books. And climbed trees and swam and fought dragons and dressed up our dogs in our parents clothes and made potions out of mud and plants and made forts.

And you are my younger sisters. So it is ok.

*Although one time I didn’t and I lost my youngest sister and we had to call the police and everything and that was problematic, although it wasn’t even all my fault and I handled it quite well, I thought. And also then I didn’t have to babysit for a while.
**Siblings hit each other sometimes. We probably should stop now that we are adults. But we don’t do it all that frequently, so it is probably all food.
***But really, that’s a really secret, secret thing mostly. I don’t tell most people. I only told my parents because I was on their insurance and I sort of needed medication and they would get a bill for it. (They were really helpful and understanding about it.) (Mostly, I just tell boyfriend.) (But this isn’t really the point of this.
Also sorry about the creepy face-blur thing. But I liked the picture, and some people can recognize faces and that sort of thing. And I also like being a secret.


4 thoughts on “Oldest Sister

  1. TIN FOIL ROBOT! Tin foil tin foil tin foil AWESOME.

    Also “it is probably all food”, while being a very innocent typo (in the second footnote), made me giggle so much that I hope you leave it in. 🙂

    I needed to get those out of the way first. This is such a wonderful, tender, poignant piece of writing. I hope you will find the courage one day to show it to your sisters.

    I'm the oldest sister too. And I recognise so much. (Well, except for my middle brother being more autistic than me but undiagnosed so let's not mention that). But other than that. Yes. All of it.


  2. I think I shall leave the it's all food part in there… because really, usually the reason we hit each other was bound up in one of us being hungry. Or both of us. My family does not do well under hunger conditions.

    Also, thank you.


  3. Lovely post!

    I am the oldest sister too, with 3 younger brothers (the youngest brothers are half brothers and 20+ years younger than me though, so they may not count in a growing-up sense).

    However, I am totally different and my relation with my brother/s totaly different. You sound like a lovely, caring and very integrated oldest sister who are of great value to your family.


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