“Scientists have found that first-born children are smarter than their brothers and sisters. It appears they are more likely to succeed in business, too.”
This excerpt from a 2007 USA Today article confirms something I already knew (just kidding Lauren ; ) ) But really, I definitely believe in the “older sibling syndrome”. I should know, being the strong, independent and knowledgeable older sibling that I am.
The first two years of my life, it was the Allie show. We have several home videos labeled “Allie” and photo albums filled with pages of me running around naked or working on my potty training (awww).
Enter younger sister Lauren. Helllloo, who was she to cramp my style? Apparently my mom wanted her to wear the same outfit home from the hospital that I had worn when I was born. Not happening. My two-year-old self threw a fit and screamed. Those were my clothes, was she crazy?
Fast forward a couple of years. I had accepted she was probably going to stick around for a while. Perfect! It meant I could have a little person to make my slave (a bit dramatic but you older siblings know what I’m talking about). Home videos at this point in my life now featured both me and my slave sister, but the balance was still shifted toward me, the attention-seeking older sister. Case in point:
Scene: Christmas, 1992. Allie: 5 Lauren: 3
Allie: Okay Lauren it’s your turn to open a present, here you go (note: I chose which present she could open)
[Lauren begins to slowly open present]
Allie: Lauren, look, do it this way. I’ll help you with it!!
[Allie grabs present from Lauren’s hands and begins to rip off paper]
Lauren: [seeing present] ahh yayy!! A cuwewing book!! (translation: coloring book)
Allie: isn’t it nice Lauren? But you’re going to share, right? We’re sharing everything right Lauren???
As the older sibling, I yearned for control and strived on being right. I did everything first and wanted to do everything well. I got straight As in high school, was on class council and president of the yearbook club, never went below a 3.7 in college and got a job in my field immediately after graduation. I told my sister she needed to try harder in school and had to stop quitting sports, that skipping gym class was ridiculous and if she wanted to get into a good college she needed to, essentially, get her shit together.
Then, at 19, my sister got engaged. As a sister who needed control and always had to be right, this did not fly well with me. I’m the older sister!! I do everything first! I’m supposed to get married and have kids first.. then you!! And marrying so young? Why would you do that???
Needless to say, this news shook the older-sibling syndrome within me. I had my own ideals about marrying young and why it’s important to wait until you’re financially stable. I’m the older sister, shouldn’t she agree with the righteous beliefs I have?
But Lauren’s not the three-year-old girl forced to share toys (and beliefs) with me anymore. She makes up her own mind and has her own ideals. The idea of marrying someone at such a young age scares the shit out of me. But good for her if she’s got the faith to do it.
I’ll always be a control freak. And I’ll always think that as the older sibling, I’m right. But I have grown up enough to learn when to loosen the reins on that control and step back a bit.
I’ll have my own kids to boss around some day. For now, I’ll let Lauren grow up.
Tell me about your older-sibling stories. Or if you’re the younger sibling… fill me in on the view from down there ; )