eldest woes and blues

4:02 PM Tuesday, May 01, 2007

the following rant may not even be true of all eldests, and may be true of other children, no matter their birth-order... but anyway

As a child, I didn't particularly feel the pressure of having to be a role model. Mainly because my younger sibling was a boy, and my parents (particularly my Mom) had enough double-standards to make me feel like a separate entity from my brother. But of course, it sucked being expected to be more patient and understanding... when your brother is all kinds of annoying. And yes, it sucked that I was expected to help clean up his mess and all those sh!t but still get the smaller piece of candy (because he likes it, and would eat up his share quickly, so i'd have to give up my share).

Later on, i'd realize Mom treated us that way because she felt my brother needed more understanding... more loving. Family dynamics. Ugh.

Anyway, i've always felt like a juggler in the circus... that it was up to me to do something to balance everything in the family. I intercede when irrational parents have a tiff with my siblings. I intercede when siblings are being very irresponsible. (Not that I was ever a saint myself... )

I think I was the one who also learned the most from my parents' sacrifices... leading me to decisions that allows for a comfortable life right now. Sure, being academically-gifted was a plus, but it wasn't like I never studied or turned in projects. I was responsible with my life... being aware of the hardships my parents went through just to give us the middle-income life we enjoyed.

And even now that am married, i've remained so involved with my first family. I worry along with my parents about what will happen to my siblings, and what to do when a parent (or both) dies.

I married a firstborn son. And we often wonder if other married couples have as many morbid and serious discussions as we do. For every check-up or confinement a parent undergoes, we take up again discussions of 'what if's' (what if a sibling has to live with us, what if a parent is all alone na, what if a parent requires constant family care, etc). We worry about our parents and about our siblings... while also worrying about our own problems.

And despite having our plate full ourselves, our parents would turn to us first in times of crisis. We're who they depend on to pick up their slack. In a weird way, we're now also parents to our siblings... and sort of in-charge of our parents.

It's a privilege i'm really honored to have. It's a responsibility I would never dream of turning my back on. But sometimes, I just really can't help but wish that younger siblings could be a little more considerate and involved. I just really wish parents would stop treating younger children as if they have to be protected from harsh realities of life (esply when they already hit 20, i think everything's fair game already)... and thus stop enabling them to be dependent.


Then again, I am just about to start on my journey to parenthood. What do I really know? And since i'd never be a younger sibling, I also wouldn't know what particular expectations they have to deal with.

But still... am sure... there's a reason why firstborns are the usual neurotic ones... and the control-freaks :D


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