The little green eyed monster rears his ugly head once in awhile in my home. It’s getting rarer and rarer, so maybe I just don’t see it coming and it totally blindsides me. I completely understand the sentiments of being a younger sibling. I am the youngest of 2 and I totally get how sucky it is in life to NEVER do anything first. If you are not a younger sibling, you just don’t get it. You never will. But that’s okay, I will try and enlighten you.
You see, the only time our siblings are jealous of US is when we are too little to care. Sure, you bring us home from the hospital and we’re cute and tiny and the new kid in town and so our siblings throw some tantrums, scratch at our limbs, occasionally try to suffocate us, but honestly, that doesn’t make a difference to us. We are too young to know that we had that big of an impact on our older siblings’ lives. Ahhh, but the tables turn and they rarely turn back. Pretty soon we are coherent enough to realize that we get everything, do everything, second. . .or third. . .or fourth. Or worse.
This particular day was a tough one for Sawyer. Gunnar had a big day. And it didn’t even dawn on me to see the warning signs until it was too late. Gunnar had his kindergarten culmination today. Lots of oohhhing and aaaahing and photos taken and videos rolling, presents and cards. He also had this same night a really big public reading he got to do on stage, with a microphone.
I just figured that Sawyer was being bratty and not sitting still through the graduation songs. Loudly saying he wanted it over and that he was tired, no thirsty, no hungry. Gunnar got some graduation presents like new basketball cards, new Star Wars ship and a picture of the new bike he will be getting soon. Tonight Sawyer just hit the roof. The kid was so disobedient and downright rotten. He had 3 timeouts in a 10 minute span. His timeouts lasting 3 minutes each, well, you do the math.
And then it hit me. Like a bat over the head.
He was jealous.
And rightfully so. I would be too. Poor kid has to watch his brother on stage dancing and singing while I videotape, Aaron takes stills and what did he get? He had to sit there for an hour. Observing.
When he was dressed for bed I crawled in his bunk with him for a long heart to heart. We talked about what he was feeling, what jealousy means and how it doesn’t feel good. Then I dropped the bombshell on him. You remember Tati right, Sawyer? Yep. Well she is MY big sister. So I had to grow up and watch HER do everything first. It sucked. And I know exactly how you feel. But I did have to share one little secret that the older sibs don’t know. That is. . . although they may get to do things first like read, ride a bike, go to school, sometimes they do it wrong, or get hurt, or aren’t so good at it, and we can actually learn from their mistakes. And that means when it’s OUR turn, we are great at it! I gave him the example of riding a bike. Gunnar had just me and daddy to help him learn to ride a two wheeler (photos will be posted soon!), but when it’s YOUR turn, well, you will have me and daddy AND Gunnar to help you.
I tried to reason that although Gunnar is reading really well, he didn’t read until he was almost 5. Sawyer on the hand, baby, you started reading after your third birthday. So you are already so far ahead of the game. But I know it doesn’t really feel like it’s helping. I know it doesn’t really feel like it makes a difference. And honestly, I don’t think I realized this til I was an adult.
It really stinks most of the time to be younger. In fact, I don’t think of one good thing that comes out of being the younger sibling other than maybe learning from some of their mistakes, if they make them. But in the heat of the moment, you’d rather be the one to do it first, mistakes and all.
So for all you younger siblings, I feel for you. I feel for my two little ones who will always be striving to make their own imprints in major events and life in general. But I get you. I feel you. You will always have my sympathy, my ear and my shoulder to cry on.