Requirements of an older brother: the head of many

Being an older brother of six children has changed my outlook on life dramatically. I learned to share everything; ranging from my toys, games and television. At one point I didn’t like my big sister duties, but over time I learned to like them. I have five younger siblings ranging in age from 5 to 16. Being the oldest means you become the leader of the gang, the trendsetter, and most importantly, an accepting role model.

You have influence.

“Baydaa, because of you I made (empty).” A line I always hear coming from my sisters. The third oldest will always tell me she joined NJROTC because of me, even when it’s hard. She has my full support every step of the way. When it gets difficult, I help him memorize his lines. I help him through the breakdowns; The first year can be difficult, especially during the pandemic. She wants to be a strong woman like me; what she doesn’t know is that she just has to be herself. She is already a powerful, independent young woman. She’s not afraid to speak her mind, and she credits it to me. I had an influence on her; she saw what she wanted to be and pursued it. As an elder, you have so much power over the younger ones; they see you as an unbeatable God, and you have to hold on to that image. It scares me because I’m human. I make mistakes, and they don’t deserve to be disappointed. I know they will understand and accept. You can still fail, break down and cry, but remember that you will always have them by your side and they will look up to you.

You are a mother hen.

My youngest brother, who is 13 years younger than me, would consider me his second mother. I gave him baths, I taught him to read, to walk and to speak. I was the first to wear it! (Nobody tells him that I almost broke his neck). His impertinence and exaggerated reactions come from me. He loves to cuddle while we read our favorite books or watch television. Sometimes when we’re both tired, we make a sandwich and sit down to watch Supernatural together. Other times we get up and dance to rock music like Highway to Hell and Another One Bites The Dust. Thanks to him, I was able to experience what it is like to be a mother, and I will never forget the time he called me mom. I knew from the moment that I would always protect this little boy as if he were my own, and in a way he is.

You are a friend.

With a smaller age gap, my sixteen-year-old sister and I have been matched from the start. Everyone thought we were twins, and we agreed! It was annoying having her follow me around, but our influences on each other made us the women we are today. I couldn’t be more grateful to have had her every step of the way. I had a friend I could talk to when needed and bond over movies, books, and shows. We shared the same job, the same college experience, and endless nights of passing out. She’s my Chandler’s Joey and my Rachel’s Monica. Even at home, our relationship has incredible benefits. I often feast on all of her amazing dishes because she is the best cook in the entire world. When my sister takes care of dinner, there are no leftovers!

You lend a hand.

College is no joke to my 12-year-old brother; he wants to understand everything. He strategically plans the rest of his life and firmly believes that it won’t change a million times in the future. With a few tools under my belt, I’m helping my brother act on his dreams, and while that may change, my love for him will never waver.

We both share a love for history and often sit down to watch random long documentaries. We often embark on serious binging expeditions; those that tend to revolve around the Soviet Union, Queen Elizabeth and the Civil War. Having many siblings means you can enjoy your hobbies with all of them!

A friend’s drama and depression can wreck a child, and that’s why my seven-year-old sister and I came up with a plan. We sat down and decided that she would not let the aforementioned issues control her life. Pandemic depression is one thing; she was a social butterfly before the lockdown, and the inability to socialize greatly affected her. My little girl struggled until she discovered Harry Potter. These stories made her smile – something I hadn’t seen in a while. I helped her go to the library and pick up the books. We read and watched all the movies together. His favorite character is – unsurprisingly – Draco Malfoy. Occasionally I tease her about her deep love for this fictional wizard, but she knows I love Draco just as much as she does.

Family doesn’t stop at blood.

I was lucky enough to gain a few sisters outside of my family (they know who they are). These powerful, strong, amazing women I’ve met throughout my life. They changed me for the better and showed me career areas I had never seen before. Can you believe that an online friendship ends with writing a book? My partner in crime, my soul mate and she-devil; these three amazing women are my support system. We may not be related by blood, but who said family requires blood connection?

Being a sibling is truly a gift I could never imagine my life without. When people ask me to describe myself in one word, I always choose sister.