19 Things I’ve Learned in My 19 Years as an Older Sibling

“A sibling may be the keeper of one’s identity, the only person with the keys to one’s unfettered, more fundamental self.” — Marian Sandmaier

  1.  That baby is coming home with your parents (that were previously all yours) whether you like it or not.
  2. If your new baby was anything like mine was, it will cry and cry and cry for months on end.  It’s best to turn on a Disney movie get your favorite snack and try to tune it out while your parents deal with it.  They wanted that second baby and you never cried.  Therefore, they’re on their own.
  3. Your parents will dress that baby and you in the same outfits (this is especially true if you are the same gender).   You will not be nearly as excited as that baby is.  When you grow up, you’ll dress in matching clothes for themed parties or twin days and enjoy it.                                                 collage indians
  4. That baby will grow into an annoying little kid.  That annoying little kid will think that she has a right to be the teacher when you play school.  But what would she have to teach you?  Just wait, you’ll be surprised in a few years.
  5. That annoying little kid will want to do everything you do.  You should do your best, push yourself, persevere.  That little kid is always watching.
  6. kyle swimming
  7. Somebody will be mean to that little kid and, despite the cliché, only you’re allowed to pick on that little kid.  When someone else does it, you’ll experience a white hot rage that may or may not result in a cafeteria confrontation with the bully.
  8. Though it’s hard, you’ll have to let the kid fight her own battles.  You don’t want to cripple her for life and there are better ways to pass on that ramrod spine of yours.
  9. Watching her fight those battles will be one of the hardest things you will ever do.  Especially when she loses.
  10. Be prepared.  If you instill in her the value of a having a backbone, don’t be surprised when she uses it on you.  (Not so) gently remind her that you gave her that spine.  It’s alright to put her in her place sometimes.
  11. If that turns into a physical confrontation, so be it.  However, if you’re unlucky like me, your sibling will grow up to be bigger and stronger than you.  If that happens, the time has passed to put her in her place.  Tread carefully, I repeat, tread carefully.
  12. That annoying little kid might someday be in high school with you.  Then she’ll be a just another teenager going through an awkward phase.  Be tender with her then.  Remember how hard those early years were for you.  prom collage
  13. Be there to listen to her when she has a falling out with a friend or when her heart is broken.  She won’t always want to talk about what’s going on with her, but that certainly doesn’t mean that you should remove yourself.  Maybe one day she’ll want you to be there.
  14. Remember how she wanted to do everything you did?  You might end up on a sports team or in a club together.  Use it as a teaching experience.  Show her that whatever it is, it takes discipline and dedication.  That might carry into the rest of her life.                                                           swimming kyle
  15. Do not fight on the pool deck.  Your coach will be so shocked when you start hitting each other that he’ll let it slide.  Your mother, when she hears about it, will not.
  16. Eventually, you’ll go to college and leave that teenager behind.  You hate to think of her alone with your parents.
  17. Rescue her every once in a while.  Invite her to visit.  Let her have some fun but never take your eyes off of her.  This will make sure that when it’s her turn to go to college, she won’t be the one who wasn’t exposed to anything.  That never works out.                                                              kyle halloween
  18. Remember how you thought you’d never learn anything from that annoying little kid?  She might be the top of her class and a 3 sport Varsity athlete, president of organizations and the kid with the plan for the rest of her life.  You might be like me and you don’t have your life planned out…or even outlined.  graduation kyle IMG_1461
  19. You’ll want to push all of your life knowledge onto that grown person as she heads to start her own life away from home.  Don’t do that.  How will she ever learn what works for her if you’re telling her how you live as though it’s the law.  She won’t.  Watch her live her own life.  Be there to pick up the pieces in case it doesn’t go as planned.
  20. You’ll be a little distraught  whenever you think about that annoying little kid growing up.  Your entire life has been you doing the leaving and teaching.  Now you’re getting left in a whole new way and that’s hard.  And it’s okay to be sad and nostalgic.  But don’t worry.  You’ve done your best with them.  Keep your phone on you in case you get a text or call, visit if you can, and have faith in the hard work you’ve put into forming that tiny human your parents brought home all those years ago.

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