Being the Oldest of Six

An Essay By Gary // 4/7/2005

I wrote this a little while ago.


Being the Oldest of Six

Being the oldest of six is interesting; you are loved unceasingly and yet are always the tyrannical authoritarian. You are constantly practicing your “power”, and yet it is always checked. You have a huge part in the family, as the oldest, yet you sometimes wish your part was smaller. You are, in essence, the “guinea pig”. You are tried and tested, in order to determine what is the best for you, and your (in this case many) siblings. Strangely, you get more leniencies and more severity than your siblings over the years.

To a ten-year-old brother you are both despotic dictator and best friend. To a seven-year-old sister and four-year-old brother, you are a jungle gym, helper, and sometimes a meanie. To a two-year-old sister you are play-mate, comforter, and police-officer. And, to a three-month-old sister you are a carriage and diaper-changer. You are a teacher, and example. You are a friend and enemy. But, you are loved very much.

When you and your brothers and sisters are home schooled, your role increases ten-fold. Since you are practically always at home, you are almost a third parent. You can change diapers, dress toddlers, make lunches, clean messes, and hopefully get your Algebra done. It is a wonderful, adventurous job that I am not worthy to have.

To affirm this notion of mine, I will talk a little more about my two-year-old sister, Bernadette. She’s a real cutie. I know she loves me very much, having expressed it very well. On one occasion, when she was dreaming, she started talking about me. “Gary, help me down!” she muttered in her two-year-old way. And today she did something else. As some of her older siblings were watching Star Wars enthusiastically, she complained about how the villain was scary. She then said something like, “I want Gary hold me!” with her little toddler voice. She really makes me feel loved.

Once I met a woman, who was, like me, the oldest of six. She and I had very different opinions about our placement in the family. Our conversation went something like;

“You're the oldest of six too! Isn’t it great?” I asked.

“No.” she replied.

“Oh, it’s great!” I confirmed.

“Just wait until they start getting things that you never got…” she retorted.

Now, I can’t judge her, but what a beautiful opportunity missed. Being the oldest is awesome. Sure, you may not get everything the younger ones get, but they don’t get everything you got. They never got mommy and daddy all to themselves when they were young (most of the time), or as many baby brothers and sisters to watch grow-up. I thought it was pretty sad. As you can see, being the oldest of six isn’t always the same, and I am grateful I am in the family I am.

I’m glad I got the place that I did… I am really glad… Hopefully, someday, I’ll be the oldest of seven, and that’ll be a whole new adventure!


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