1. Explaining the notion of divorce to your younger sibling(s) who keep asking where dad went and when he’ll be coming back. There is no greater suffering than having a parent relinquish the burden of explanation to the oldest child because they themselves are the only ones who, basically by default, understand what their younger sister is going through. This event also encompasses other miscellaneous responsibilities such as announcing when the family fish dies.
2. Watching them struggle with academics that seemed to come naturally to you in high school, wondering why their understanding could not come as easily to them as it did to you. Though this may seem like an occurrence worth celebrating, watching younger siblings succeed feels almost, if not equally as great, as succeeding yourself. This may be my parental instinct coming out, but I think that if success is something to be shared, failure might be as well.
3. Seeing their ex boyfriend/girlfriend move on with someone that would never stand up to how incredible your younger sibling is. Despite the concrete knowledge that your little sibling is basically the gauge for everyone else’s standards when dating, it is hard to cope with the fact that maybe your little brother is a player or your sister is easy. Realizing that age discrepancy does not change their vulnerability for corruption is one of the hardest moments any oldest child has to endure, no matter how corrupt we ourselves may be.
4. Following closely in the footsteps of learning that little siblings are susceptible to corruption just as older siblings are, being okay with watching little brothers or sisters grow up in the most normal of ways seems to be one of the toughest obstacles for the eldest. Marriage, childbirth, and the beginning of careers marks a huge time in their lives (just as it did for us older children, I’m sure), but regardless of this happiness it is terribly hard to watch them emerge as successful grown-ups. Like no — please go back to your room at home and show me how you got Barbie to fit inside Polly Pocket’s car.