I am the older sibling but I don’t feel like it
"So, who's the older one?" turns out to be a difficult question for me, and less so for my younger sibling. Despite making entry into this world seven years after me, my younger sister refuses to acknowledge that I am indeed the older one.
Early teens are a tough period for anyone. They are no longer kids and aren't adults yet either. But while my younger sister tries to be older than she really is and splendidly succeeds at it, I am left wondering if I have indeed become the younger one.
The denial of my eldest sibling status is often attributed to my own doings. During a casual conversation, I let it slip that I had once done my sister's art and craft assignment. I had also done my younger brother's assignments on multiple occasions. While my companions boasted of getting their younger siblings to follow their orders, my actions immediately made me unworthy of the "older sibling" title.
When she doesn't turn the volume down despite being asked to do so, doesn't eat fruits as advised, or keeps scrolling while being instructed on something important, I do take offence. But it rarely comes from the conscious entitlement of being the elder sister. And I usually let such instances pass because leveraging the superiority of age to get something done is not my forte.
However, when a fight breaks out between the 20-year-old me and the 13-year-old her, I should be guaranteed a win, right? No. Not when she plots to resort to the heinous tactic of inflicting great pain on my Achilles' heel. My Achilles' heel being my glasses. All she has to do is snatch them. If anyone is looking for the fastest way to get into an identity crisis, I urge you to get defeated by your younger sibling in a fight.
As if to add visual credibility to the whole affair, she outgrew me in height too. Thus, even at face value, I fail to be the older sister. At events, when our parents introduce us to relatives, the ambiguity suggested by our height and looks prompts them to question, "So, who's the older one?" And the answer is often met with "Doesn't look that way!"
The only occasion when I do feel like the older one is when we discuss the latest internet trends. I feel a bit too old then. 13-year-olds now are exposed to a lot more than we were at their age. They understand more and it makes us wonder how fast they grew up.
Besides these accelerated changes, there is also the mould of an ideal elder sibling to live up to – responsible, respected, and the perfect role model. But not all of us fit into it and neither is it important to. What is important is to help the little ones, who are in a rush to truly grow up. Being a witness to your younger sibling's growth is a pleasure, though a baffling one at times.
Noushin Nuri is fighting the world to maintain her sleep schedule. Reach her at [email protected]