Role of Older Sibling Not as Expected


Summer Salim, Staff Writer

Three years ago, life presented me with a gift: a baby sister to cherish. The day of her birth, I experienced a tangle of emotions, everything ranging from delight to anxiety. Not a single doubt crossed my mind that my sister was a blessing, but she did not appear alone; a sense of pressure arrived with her as a bundle package.

As the older sister of five boys, I never considered myself a role model. As the only daughter, my brothers usually left me alone because of our lack in common interests. The excitement of sharing the house with a female other than my mother vanished quickly, as I realized that having a sister lacked the glamour I had dreamed of.

My sister did not cry much as an infant, so understandably, I did not expect her to be a loud toddler. My expectations were nothing but hopeful fantasies. At the age of two, she not only found her voice, but also began to manipulate those surrounding her. She discovered that crying loudly in public places got her the candy bar and curling her bottom lip while widening her eyes got her the doll. We began to clash as she tested my patience by breaking my perfume bottles and spilling my paints. She banged on my locked door while yelling my name obnoxiously as I tried to focus on homework. She would stick out her tongue and walk away with a spring in her step after being confronted for her actions.

It has been a year and a half since I last changed her diaper and two years since I last fed her from a bottle. I remember seeing her for the first time at the hospital, marveling at the sheer tininess of her. My sister is now three years old. Her curls are down to her shoulders and her mouth is filled with teeth. She speaks in complete sentences and proudly sings her ABCs. I catch myself staring at her in astonishment, amazed by her transformation, still watching her grow and develop. She does not cling to me as much as she used to and my time spent with her has dwindled through the years. As much as I try to convince myself otherwise, I know that the reality of the situation cannot be ignored.  Soon, I will move away, starting a new life, putting a great distance between us. With technical advancements, keeping in touch should not be an issue, but nothing compares to living in the same house as her. Being there for her at all times will be out of the question. Helping her with homework and reading her stories at night will not be possible. I will miss the important milestones in her life. But I am determined to be the valiant role model she can look to and the friend she can confidently confide in.