Becoming an older sibling to a baby sister is one of the most exciting, terrifying, and overall incredible moments in a person’s life. Throughout your relationship, you’ll want to teach her about the world, but shield her from a lot of it. You’ll love her at times, and you’ll hate her at times, but you’ll eventually realize she is the most important person in your life. You’ll also realize that, through it all, she may have taught you more about life than you could have ever hoped to teach her.
1. You don’t want the change
You’ve gotten used to being an only child, and frankly, you’re quite scared of what gaining a younger sister means. Will your parents stop loving you? Will you not be as special to them as you once were? Will she get all the attention now that she’s the cute little baby of the family? Every older sibling goes through this anxiety, but it quickly fades when you realize that your family is not just gaining a younger child—it’s also gaining an older one.
2. You instantly grow up
You want to do everything you can to help your little sister, from holding her and feeding her, to pacifying her when she cries. Your parental instincts kicked in the moment you meet your baby sister. Throughout your life, you’ll always feel a need to protect her.
3. You understand your parents a bit more
Instantly growing up means you see the parent/child relationship from the other side, if only in snippets at a time. You couldn’t finish your homework because you needed to go with your parents to the doctor. You couldn’t sleep at night because your baby sister was crying for God knows what reason. You also understand that all of this is worth having another member of the family.
4. You see yourself in her
You realize that you were the reason your parents couldn’t sleep at night, or that they had to decline a party invitation because they couldn’t find a sitter (or didn’t want to). You realize you’re not the center of the universe. You realize that you were once an infant, and you see what you’ve grown into. And you realize your baby sister will soon do the same.
5. You have someone to talk to
Even as children, your little sister is always there to talk to. When you’re bored, she’s there to joke around with. When you’re sad, she’s there for you to unload your emotions on. When you’re ecstatic, she’s there to share your excitement with. Your sister becomes your outlet for all of your emotions, a living, breathing journal for you to tell your story to.
6. You gain a pal
You realize your sister isn’t just your family; she can be a part of your inner circle. It doesn’t matter if she’s one year, five years, or ten years younger than you. Your friends will accept that the two of you are a package deal. They might get annoyed with her, and you, but in the long run they understand how important she is to you, and true friends will become big brothers and sisters to her as well.
7. You gain a nemesis
Having a younger sibling is definitely not all sunshine and rainbows. You’ll argue with each other. You’ll fight—a LOT. You’ll wish you were an only child so much that you can’t believe how unfair your life is. But having a family member to experience these emotions with makes you realize something important about family: they don’t go away, whether you want them to or not.
8. You gain a scapegoat
You broke a glass playing basketball in the kitchen? Blame your sister. Spilled juice all over the brand new sofa? Blame your sister. Having a younger sister means you can shirk responsibility for just about anything. Not only that, but since she’s younger, your parents will usually go easier on her.
9. You become a scapegoat
That is, until she figures out how to turn the tables on you. Once she realizes that she, too, can blame you for things she’s done, don’t expect her to let up. She might even start trashing the house on purpose with the sole intention of getting you in trouble. And when the time comes, be sure to look behind your scolding mom’s back to see your little sister sticking her tongue out at you. With little sisters, payback’s a snitch.
10. You learn to hate responsibility
Mom has to work late? You need to feed your sister before you feed yourself. Dad has to run to grandpa’s house? You need to come inside and watch Nick Jr for a few hours. When you were looking forward to a baby sister, you never asked for all of this. But here you are, stuck playing tea party while all of your friends are playing manhunt down at the park.
11. You learn to love responsibility
Being responsible for another human being is incredibly empowering. Not in a bullying sense of the word, but in the sense that if you can watch out for another person, you can surely survive the world on your own. While you’re preparing food for your baby sister, you realize you can actually make your own meals whenever you want. When stuck inside with her, you realize you can make the best of a bad situation and end up having silly fun. You realize you don’t always need to be with your chosen friends to be having the time of your life.
12. You learn to appreciate more
You realize the little things are what make your sacrifices worth it. You didn’t have fun playing dress up, especially when your sister took that incriminating photo of you in a tiara. Years later, you’ll see that picture and instantly feel like a kid again. You might get a serious case of FOMO when your friends tell you all about last Friday’s party, but you would have missed the first moment you hung out with your sister all weekend and saw her as a person rather than a younger sibling. You realize you wouldn’t trade her for anything else in the world.
13. You become a role model
Sure, you “instantly grew up” when you met your little sister, but did you consciously change your behavior? Not until you’re older, and your sister actually looks up to you, do you truly want to be someone worth looking up to. She sees you as a leader, and even if you never felt like one before, you hold yourself to a higher standard because of your little sister.
14. You have more in common than you think
You might be polar opposites on the surface, but your sister shares the worldviews and values your parents have instilled in both of you. If you ever feel alone in life, you can bet your sister will understand exactly where you’re coming from. You might not like the same music, or enjoy the same hobbies, but you’ve experienced the same vacations, family dinners, and other life moments that are much more important than Top 40 radio or the New York Yankees.
15. You need your space
Sometimes, you just want to be left alone. You were an only child for a long time, and you’ve almost forgotten what it was like to experience peace and quiet. There’s nothing wrong with this. But you also must come to the realization that you are not an island, you are not alone, and you will always have a responsibility to your younger sister. Being alone to recharge is one thing, but don’t ever isolate yourself from your closest family member.
16. You’ll need her to fill that space
When you’re away from your sister, you might not realize it, but you miss her. The peace and quiet can be nice, but after a certain period of time it becomes deafening. You’ll realize that you might not always have her around to create the ambience you’ve gotten used to (and tired of), and you realize how much you’d miss it if it were gone for good. Missing your sister leads to appreciating the times you have with her.
17. You gain someone to trust
You can never trust anyone as much as you can trust your sister. She might have pulled one over on you in your younger days, but you can always count on her to keep secrets, listen to you, and love you for who you are. You both understand the special bond you share, and know how important it is to never break it.
18. You will become friends
You might have just tolerated your younger sister throughout your childhood, but that will change once you become adults. You will actually look forward to spending time together. You’ll actually make plans with each other. Your friends will want to hang out with her, and you’ll want to hang out with her friends. You’ll most likely end up going on more adventures with your sister than you ever did with any of your chosen friends.
19. You will stay friends
Not only will you become friends, but you’ll stay friends with your sister for longer than with anyone else who has come and gone in your life. High school friends almost always go their separate ways. College friends will move away, start their own families, and eventually the magic of your friendships will dissipate. Your sister will grow with you. Through every part of your life, your sister will be with you. And for every part of her life, you’ll be there watching over her proudly.
20. You learn the true value of family
Throughout your life, your sister will teach you the ultimate value of having a family. She’ll become an aunt to your children. She’ll welcome your spouse into your family. You’ll both help your parents as they grow older. You’ll always share the memories of childhood and the dreams of your lives with your younger sister. The best part of having a younger sister is the magic of your relationship will never fade.
Featured photo credit: Baby girl laughing to her brother via shutterstock.com