Requirements of an Older Sibling: the Leader of Many

Lifestyle

Being an older sibling of six kids significantly changed my perspective on life. I learned to share everything; ranging from my toys, games, and television. At one point, I disliked my big-sister duties, but with time, I have grown to love them. I have five younger siblings between from the ages of 5 to 16 years old. Being the oldest means that you become the leader of the gang, the trendsetter, and most importantly, an accepting role model.

You have an influence.

“Baydaa, because of you I did (blank).” A line I always hear coming from my sisters. The third oldest will always tell me she joined NJROTC because of me, even when it's hard. She has my full support every step of the way. When it gets hard, I help her memorize her lines. I help her through breakdowns; freshmen year can be hard, especially during the pandemic. She wants to be a strong woman like me; what she doesn't know, is all she has to be is herself. She is already a powerful independent young woman. She isn't afraid to speak her opinion, and she credits that to me. I had an influence on her; she saw what she wanted to be, and went after it. As the oldest you have so much power over the younger ones; they see you as an unbeatable God, and you have to hold up to that image. That scares me because I am human. I do make mistakes, and they don’t deserve to be let down. I know they will understand and be accepting. You may still fail, break down, and cry, but remember you will always have them beside you, and looking up to you.

You are a mother hen.

My youngest brother, who is 13 years younger than me, would consider me his second mother. I've given him baths, taught him how to read, walk, and talk. I was the first to carry him! (Nobody tells him I almost broke his neck). His sass and over the top reactions come from me. He loves to cuddle as we read our favorite books or watch television. Sometimes when we're both tired, we make a sandwich and sit back to watch Supernatural together. Other times we stand up and dance to rock music like Highway to Hell and Another One Bites The Dust. Through him, I got to experience what it feels like to be a mother, and I will never forget the time he called me mom. I knew from the moment on, I will always protect this little boy like he was my own, and in a way, he is.

You're a friend.

With a smaller age gap, my sixteen-year-old sister and I have been paired off from the start. Everyone thought we were twins, and we went along with it! It was annoying that she followed me everywhere, but our influences on each other shaped us into the women we are today. I couldn't be more thankful that I had her every step of the way. I had a friend I could speak to when needed, and to bond with over movies, books, and shows. We shared the same job, college experience, and endless nights swooning over crushes. She's the Joey to my Chandler and the Monica to my Rachel. Even at home our relationship has incredible perks. I often indulge on all of her amazing dishes, for she's the best cook in the entire world. When my sister is in charge of dinner, there are no leftovers!

You lend a guiding hand.

Middle school is no joke for my 12-year-old brother; he wants to figure everything out. He strategically maps out the rest of his life, and firmly believes that it will not change a million times in the future. With a few tools under my belt, I help my brother act in accordance with his dreams, and though it may change, my love for him will never waver.

We both share a love for history and often sit down to watch long, random documentaries. We often embark on serious binging expeditions; ones that tend to revolve around the Soviet Union, Queen Elizabeth, and the Civil War. Having many siblings means you can practice your hobbies with all of them!

Friend drama and depression could tear a child down, and that is why my seven-year-old sister and I devised a plan. We sat down and decided she won't let the aforementioned problems control her life. Pandemic depression is a thing; she was a social butterfly prior to lockdown, and the inability to socialize has greatly affected her. My little girl struggled until she discovered Harry Potter. Those stories made her smile- something I had not seen in a while. I helped her go to the library and pick up the books. We read and watched all the movies together. Her favorite character is- to no surprise- Draco Malfoy. Occasionally, I will tease her about her deep love for this fictional wizard, but she knows that I love Draco just as much as her.

Family Doesn't End With Blood.

I was lucky enough to gain a few sisters outside my family (they know who they are). These powerful, strong, and amazing women I met throughout my life. They changed me for the better and showed me career fields that I haven't seen before. Can you believe that an online friendship ended with writing a book? My partner in crime, my soul mate, and she-devil; these three incredible ladies are my support system. We may not be related by blood, but who said family requires a blood connection?

Being a sibling is truly a gift I could never imagine my life without. When people ask me to describe myself in one word, I will always choose sister.

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Baydaa Alshatee

Baydaa Alshatee has been working in The Teen Magazine since July 2020, and is studying Journalism at EVCC.