Being First

by a Guest Author

This is the second in a series of three blogs on siblings, written by a guest contributor. We have discussed birth order in an earlier blog on family relationships. This writer shares her experience of being the first born.

I believe that my parents trusted me and counted on me.

I am a first born, a girl, and a person who likes that I am a first born! It wasn’t that I liked it because I had a lot of time alone with my parents, there were always others in my life. I enjoyed the responsibilities in my family that came with this position.

I believe that my parents trusted me and counted on me. I was reliable and from the early age of 12. I was the babysitter for my seven siblings. My parents weren’t just out to dinner, they went weekly to Detroit (90 minutes away) to keep score for a pro bowling tournament! Once I let my “position” get to my head: my oldest brother, 13 months younger than I, let me have it. He had me pinned on the floor because I had told him what to do. I changed my approach immediately and let him be in charge of himself!

There are 12 years between me and my youngest sibling. I am aware that some of my siblings groused about how mom and dad “let so-and-so get away with ______ ,” and “I never got to do that.” Maybe it was because I was given big responsibilities very young, that I never felt “wronged” by the difference in their parenting techniques. I always thought, “it’s a different time and they know more than when I was that same age.”

In my adult years, I cherished alone-time with my parents, as my husband and daughters visited them often and travelled together with them on numerous occasions. I have always gotten along well with my parents. I didn’t always buy/do everything they said, but we clearly had a mutual respect for one another.  

I must have influenced my siblings in some way, because not long after my mom died, an aunt told me I was now the “matriarch” of the family. That was quite a title, and not one I was prepared for! I mentioned it to one of my sisters who replied, “We’ve known you as that for a long time.” What???!!! That “oldest” showing up!

For many years now, we have had annual family gatherings each summer. We combine achievements and milestones for all family members and have one big weekend-long celebration. Many of us see one another in smaller groups throughout the year. We are committed to remaining connected; our children do the same with each other with cousin gatherings.

Thanks, Mom and Dad for instilling the fine art of being an oldest in me!


For Your Reflection

As adults, do you and your siblings or cousins still get together and/or stay in touch?

Is there one person in the family; sibling or cousin, that tends to keep the family connected?

As siblings, are you still squabbling over the same issues you did when you were kids?

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