The Oldest Child

Being the oldest sibling entails as much aggravation as it does adventure.


Maddie Kantz, Staff Writer

I have two younger siblings which, obviously, makes me the oldest. In other words, I am, as I like to call myself, the “test child”. For anything and everything — most recently, attending high school, navigating the college application process, and, in five months — I’m the first child in the family. 

As for the college application part, my mom and I truly were completely lost where to even start. I basically had to figure out the whole college search and application process by myself. I’m not blaming my mom because it truly was an overwhelming process, especially when we didn’t have the slightest clue what we were doing. 

Additionally, my mom was trying to balance caring for my siblings and me in addition to figuring out the application process. When my sister applies to college in a few years, we’ll know where to start, and, by the time my brother is applying to college, he will definitely not be as lost as I was. 

Over the years, I’ve grown into a fantastic counselor to my mom. Being the oldest child, I’m the one closest to her in age and the next best thing she has to talk with an adult. Maybe a part of this comes from my dad not being around to listen to my mom. Nonetheless, I’ve attentively listened to my mom’s problems and offered my advice. 

Some of the things we talk about are silly little things, while other things are deeper. In all honesty, some of the things my mom discusses with me probably shouldn’t be discussed with me, simply because they’re adult conversations meant to be talked about with other adults, not her teenage daughter. 

I’m definitely more on my own growing up than my brother and sister are. I’m more independent and always have been more independent than my siblings but only because I didn’t necessarily have any other choice. Especially when my dad died, my mom counted on me to act as a babysitter for my younger siblings to help her out, and ever since I’ve always had the slight responsibility of helping to take care of my siblings. I had to learn how to be independent because I didn’t have an older sibling to look out for me. 

I have always been expected to behave as a role model for my brother and sister. With that, I was never allowed to get mad at my siblings because I was supposed to be the mature one and just tolerate it. Without fail, I am almost always the one who gets punished and yelled at by my mom. 

I’ve had my fair share of times when my brother or sister will start crying and go running to my mom. Almost every time, my mom will automatically yell at me and think I’m the reason they’re crying. What they failed to mention to my mom was they had just gotten done aggravating me on purpose while I sat there not giving them any reaction before I finally had enough. 

I understand the next thing I’m going to say is going to sound petty. As my sister and I are only 18 months apart, we receive almost everything at the same time. From DSIs to makeup cases to Ipads, everything I unwrap surely enough is soon unwrapped by my sister. Don’t get me wrong. I still greatly cherish every single gift my mom gets me, but it’s kind of a little less special knowing my sister got the same exact thing in a different color. 

My mom wants all of her children to feel equally treated and doesn’t want any of us to feel left out. Therefore, over the years I’ve watched her buy my brother a multitude of electronics in an attempt to ensure that he doesn’t feel left excluded from my sister and me. Consequently, I’ve also watched my brother break two brand new expensive tablets simply because my mom wanted him to feel equally treated.  

But the truth is, at the end of the day, I do love getting to watch my younger siblings grow up and understand my mom wants the best for me, even when it seems I’m getting the short end of the stick.