The life of an oldest child

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Meredith VanSkiver

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The life of an oldest child

Being an oldest child is kind of like being the president; it’s a fun position in theory, but a ton of repercussions come with it. It’s a glamorous, glorified, golden title that I’ve had all my life, save the promotion from “only” to “oldest” in 2003.

That was the year my life changed. When my younger sister was born in 2003, quite literally every single experience I’ve had since has been impacted. I had to move into a new house because of her, I had to share my toys with her, I had to sacrifice all of my parents’ attention because of her.

And then in 2008, when my second sister was born, the process repeated itself.

These things may seem small or petty, and partly, that may be true; however, there are other, more hidden struggles with being the oldest of three.

I’m the guinea pig. I’m the one that all the parenting strategies are tested on. My parents never had to deal with a new driver until I turned sixteen. My parents never had a junior in high school until this fall. My parents never had to worry about helping a child look at colleges until now.

They are there to guide me, no doubt about it, but they are also learning the process along with me. All these firsts for me are firsts for them as well, and I know that when my two sisters experience these things my parents will be better prepared to aid them.

Not only am I setting the standard in my parents’ eyes, but I’m also creating the status quo for my two younger sisters. Even if they like to bashfully deny it, I know that they both look up to me. I have to try to set the best example for them that I can at all times, which is a very scary notion.

Everything I do, no matter how small, is scrutinized. My family analyzes my actions and then bases decisions off of them because I am the first; I am the trial.

These thoughts can be frightening at times, but being the oldest child also comes with blessings. I get to lead my sisters throughout life. I have the opportunity to give them advice and reassurance on things. I can set a precedent that they can follow and that will help them to succeed in the future.

I love them, and I know that no one could do a better job at being a role model than me.

I believe that things are the way that they are for a reason. So, just like how some people were born to be the president, I truly was born to be an oldest child.

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