I am seven and ten years older than my sisters. From the time I was 14 I can remember babysitting my siblings, watching them while my parents cleaned the house or entertained dinner guests, to eventually having to watch them during the summer days when we were out of school and my parents were at work.
Watching my sisters wasn’t necessarily fun. My middle sister and myself would spend 90 percent of the day fighting and pulling each other’s hair out, and the other 10 percent either playing or not speaking to one another.
I began to feel like a mean older sister, and it wasn’t until I was much older did I realize I didn’t have the fun-loving relationship with my sisters I imagined I would have.
Initially I blamed this on the age difference. My sisters were always close to each other, and I figured not having much in common, and constantly being at different stages in life didn’t help the lack of sisterly bond I had always hoped for, but the other two clearly shared.
It wasn’t until I was speaking with friends about the horrors of babysitting younger siblings did I realize how much I still resented being the babysitter, and how being made to be viewed as their authority was a contributing factor.
Growing up I always wanted a sister, and I was lucky enough to get two. But I never thought about the fights we would have, the harsh words we would say to each other, or the chunk of time I missed after I moved out of my parent’s house, when they were only 12 and 9-years-old.
Looking back I feel as though all I was to them during our younger years was a mean babysitter, a much older sister who was the boss when no one was home. And when an actual adult came home the last thing I wanted to do was to spend more time at home with my sisters.
I don’t blame my parents for making me babysit my siblings, and it wasn’t as though I never had the chance to go out with my friends and still be a teenager, but I do wish the time I had with them as kids was more fun and carefree as oppose to the fights we would have over me telling them what to do.
I love my sisters, and I would take a bullet for them. Now, I have a much happier and more fun time with the young ladies they both have grown into. We have more in common, and can relate to each other in areas where we never had anything in common before.
But there are still moments when I see that the bond I share with each of them is not as strong as the bond they share with one another.
Perhaps it’s the age difference, but I hope it’s not because I was the bossy big sister.