Eldest Child

It isn’t easy being the eldest child. You tend to be expected to carry the world on your shoulders for any kids that come after you. My older sister certainly had her hands (and shoulders) full when it came to the other three of us. Following her lead was the logical thing I expected to do from Day One, and she undoubtedly knew that her every word and act would be scrutinized and grasped as tightly as any life’s-mystery-solving clue could be.
Photo: The World on Her Shoulders

Unlike many, my elder sibling was neither empty-headed nor empty-handed when leading or hauling me through the years, however. I must assume that she was generally more conscious of what she led me toward or away from than I ever was, and whether there was a particular purpose regarding its effect on me or it was simply what she needed to do in her own life was as irrelevant as if I’d been a duckling following a duck, since after all, our parents didn’t go to school with me, play in the yard with me, or otherwise have anything like the minute-to-minute impact a sibling could have. I apologize, here and now, for whatever time and energy I stole away from my big sister that she ought to have been spending on herself alone! Strangely, she still likes me, though, so I take the liberty at the same time of assuming her forgiveness on that front.
Photo: Show Me the World

I certainly didn’t quit the hero-worshiping dependence when we were young, either. It was my sister who gave me the world. Our parents saw to it that we learned to read, and that is an enormous gift that can only be repaid in kind by handing it on to younger people as they come along, but it was and continues to be my older sister who blazes the path down every library aisle on earth (and a few in the ether, too) and inspired me to try to better my reading and writing. She always had astonishing verbal skills and a voracious appetite for all sorts of books, so she set the benchmark in reading and writing that I will always lag behind but continue to pursue.

If that cracking open of the world in the pages of books weren’t enough, there was always the lure of the tangible world as well. There, too, our parents paved the way for our ventures beyond home borders, both financially and with the encouragement to broaden our horizons beyond anything they were privileged to experience at our young ages. But again, it was at big sister’s beckoning that I took up the challenge given by Mom and Dad to take a semester off from my university studies, spending both the time and the money I’d have devoted to those on traveling Europe, instead, with my sibling. It was more education than I could possibly have crammed into the other three-and-a-half years of my undergraduate studies altogether, utterly worth all of the angst and expense it terrified my twenty-something soul to expend, and all happened under the tutelage of my sister, my intimidatingly fearless guide and hilarious friend.
Photo: I Wish You Ten Candy Stores

There’s nothing a sister can say or do to make up for all of the times I was a pain in the neck—or anatomical regions south thereof—to my older sister. Despite her admiration for all things chocolate, no amount of truffles and cakes and French Silk Pies will do. But I am grateful, and I do thank her, and I certainly wish her a wonderful birthday today and many more of them to come. I’ll just have to watch and see what she does in times ahead, so as to get inspired for how to handle the next such conundrum as they always do come along in life. That’s what elder siblings are for, it seems.

20 thoughts on “Eldest Child

  1. Good morning Kathryn….wonderful tribute to your sister. As an only child, I always envied those who came from larger families …..
    Clearly your sister, and parents gave you a wonderful foundation on which to grow.
    Have a lovely day. Janet. xxx

  2. Great post about your sister. Sounds like you were very close and she was a force to be reckoned with! I have two brothers to bully around and I am envious of people such as yourself who share a close bond with a sister. Happy birthday to her!

  3. I wish that I had a sibling – older or younger, but unfortunately I’m an only one. I was therefore the oldest and the youngest child with the accompanying issues from both directions. I was determined NEVER to have just one child. You are a very lucky lady to have such an inspirational older sister – but then you know that already!
    Christine

    • Indeed I do know! You can be an extra sister any time you like. We have an expansive family that way. 🙂 In fact, I believe in Chosen Family having at least as much power and significance as that into which we’re born. 😀

      Kath

    • Yep, ask our youngest sister. 😉 On the other hand, she quickly developed skills for charming us into, or out of, many things, so she clearly has good survival instincts. Doesn’t hurt that she’s super smart, beautiful, warm hearted, etc, etc. 😀
      xo

    • Thanks! I suppose that if it weren’t for the intricacies of a complicated relationship, the greatness wouldn’t be nearly so fabulous as it is in that context…. So worth it! 😀

  4. Lovely post about your wonderful sister, Kathryn! I’m the baby; my sisters are ten years older and 19 months apart. So they were raised kind of like twins, while I came a decade later. I was told I wasn’t an accident; who knows? 🙂 I wish my sisters lived closer, though. Even with the age difference we’ve all remained close…Happy Birthday to your sister, too! Hugs! xo

    • Pretty sure *all* of us girls were unplanned, or at least made slightly random appearances in terms of timing. Worked out very neatly, though, as we ended up being in two pairs (#1 and I are 2 years apart, and 3 and 4 are 18 months apart), so we were pretty naturally close that way—but all four are very close, which is an amazing gift. We’re looking forward to a little bit of time together in the summer!!!
      (((HUGS))) right back!

      K

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