As the eldest of four, I have always tried my best to be someone my younger brothers and sister could look up to. I have always felt a sort of responsibility for them too, like a parent in a way. I think this is a notion you only really understand if you’re the eldest sibling.
For as long as I can remember, I have always had a desire to want to protect them, stop them making the stupid mistakes I did, guide them, support them, and give them a good kick up the arse when they need it! It’s not always made me very popular, but I have only ever wanted to give them the advice I didn’t have being the eldest.
As an individual I have always had ‘rescuer’ traits and wanted to help and fix everyones problems. This is a part of me that I do believe has been ingrained in me from a young age. While this is who I am as an individual, I do think our family circumstance has nurtured this part of me in a way I could never have expected. If someone is ill, I want to make them feel better, if you’re sad, I want to make you happy, if there’s a problem, I want to help fix it. But when you live with someone you love and care about, and they have an awful condition like my brothers… you quickly realise that there are some problems you just can’t solve. And that’s a hard and very bitter pill to swallow… a bit like when paracetamol dissolves in your throat before you can swallow it!!
As the eldest, I have always tried to be the strong one as I thought that was what everyone else needed from me. No one has ever told me that but I’ve always felt it. I always thought it was just me until I spoke to my husband who is also the eldest, and he was the same too. If your the eldest then heed some sound advice… you don’t always need to be strong! In fact, sometimes your siblings need to see that there a times where you need them too. It’s ok to let the mask slip.
I am very lucky in that generally, we are very close as siblings. We have crazy banter that no-one else understands, we’re stupid together and that is what has always kept our bond strong. When things are tough we have always glued together, and been a real force to be reckoned with. But like everyone else, we also piss each other off, fall out and call each other out on our shit. And that’s our normal. I believe it’s extremely important to be able to create good memories, have stories to tell and be able to reflect on the good times. The bad times, we all know can be really bad, but when it’s all getting too much and you feel like your drowning, those happy memories are what have kept me going time and time again.
When I talk about happy memories, I’m not always talking about huge things either. It’s not always about a big trip to disneyland or any extravagant event etc. Sometimes it’s just about that time one of us farted on the other, or the time we all went to the pub quiz and made a rude name for our team, or the time one of us went through a horrid fashion sense. That’s what keeps the light in it all, even though it’s really hard to see on a bad day, it’s there, you just need to look a little harder sometimes! But don’t ever stop looking 🙂