I’m the oldest child. I have four younger sisters—Jada(21), Jahnae(14), Jaxyn(8), Jordyn(6)—And like every other oldest sibling, I sometimes envy the younger ones. Their irresponsibility. Their ability to make mistakes. Their freedom.
As the oldest, we see a side of our parents that the younger siblings don’t. We were considered the “practice child”. So, we were there when the parents were still trying to figure their own shit out and raise a child at the same time. We are the experiments. This usually leads to us having the most unrealistic expectations placed on us from an early age; responsibilities for our actions as well as the actions of our siblings, and another level of pain as a result. On top of that, most of us had to grow up mentally wayyyy before our siblings because we had to “be the example” or “help out” with the other children when in reality, these aren’t our damn kids so they shouldn’t have been our responsibilities either.
We were monitored and disciplined so meticulously that by the time our siblings started to grow, our parents were tired and just started letting all types of unruly behavior slide through the cracks. Shit that we would NEVER have gotten away with. As a result, the young ones essentially get to experience a completely different version of our parents than we did.
I feel like Meredith Grey when she told Lexie Grey “I don’t know the father that you know. I didn’t have the father you had”. Literally. When I was growing up, my parents were young. Irresponsible. Busy. And unavailable. Now, my younger sisters have a father who has decided he wants to be a father. So, he shows up for them. I can’t relate.
The oldest child always sees the parents when they’re the most flawed and endures the most hardship when it comes to said parents. This was a huge fear of mine when I was pregnant with my baby boy simply because I knew I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want him to experience me in this stage. My oldest child syndrome is such a severe case, I don’t want to have anymore children so that he doesn’t have anything to compare it to. I don’t want him to have that bit of envy I spoke of earlier. I’d rather he go through this storm with me and be the first one to point out the rainbow once it has passed. And the two of us reap the benefits together, knowing it was all worth it in the end.
As the oldest child, we’re the most fucked up. We’ve usually felt the most disappointment and the most pain. But we’re also the most disciplined, the most responsible and the strongest. As much as being the oldest can suck, it has just as many benefits.