What It Really Means To Be Your Older Sister

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two sisters sitting together

By Kristina Modica

Having a younger sister can sometimes feel like being a parent.

No matter what, you want the best for them. You want them to turn out to be a good person. You want them to know right from wrong.

You want them to be able to make conscientious decisions. You want them to be happy. You want them to be extraordinary.

And they will. You just have to let them try to be.

We like to light up the path for them, though. It’s not as easy to turn a blind eye to the decisions they make and hope for the best. We weren’t built that way. I am certainly not built that way.

So, the reason you see me as this uptight, responsible, overprotective, overbearing, extremely nosey and insanely judgmental person, is because... I felt I had to be.

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Ever since we were little kids and I was old enough to grasp what it meant to be a big sister, I felt this instinct to look out for you. I felt the need to be your role model. I felt the pressure to make the right decisions.

I felt the responsibility to be a good teacher. To set good examples.

Every step and misstep I took, I knew you were watching. I knew what was expected of me.

But there were times that the answer wasn’t always so clear cut, but what made it easy is the tremendous amount of love I have for you; it’s what helps me persevere through things I didn’t know I was capable of getting through.

It helps me to push through, and fight one more fight when I feel utterly defeated.

Everything we see, experience, and feel plays a role in who we turn out to be; they all affect us. Because we’re human. Because it’s a natural reaction.

But I’ll be damned to be the one thing in your life that doesn’t play a positive role.

The one that constantly challenges you, the one who will always fight for you, the one that shows you how to care for somebody else. The one that holds you when you’re upset. And the one that would take away any pain you’ll ever feel in this lifetime if I could.

I wish I knew how to be carefree. I wish I knew how to laugh things off more. I wish I didn’t overthink every scenario and had at least three backup plans, in case one of those scenarios became a reality.

I wish I knew how to be a little more dependent, and understand that I don’t need to take on everything alone — that it’s okay to rely on other people.

But I wasn’t built that way, for what we could argue is genetic makeup or environmental factors, but that’s perfectly fine with me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But most of the choices I make, come back to doing it for you. To show you how to be able to make the right decision, even when it would be easier to make the wrong one.

To show you that overthinking certain situations may be necessary because sometimes other people’s perspectives need to be considered. To show you what independence looks like because, sometimes, you’re the only person you can count on.

And to show you responsibility, because sometimes we need to set aside our wants from our needs.

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Being an older sister isn’t about being the “good” kid, it’s about making decisions for a greater purpose. Doing it for the girl that looks up to you. So you can see what she becomes. What you want her to know. What’s right and what’s wrong.

It’s about setting aside wanting to lose control because someone is watching over your every move. It’s about wanting to set a good example. What boundaries are okay to push, and which ones you should draw a thick line for.

So the reason for me being this uptight, responsible, overprotective, overbearing, extremely nosey, insanely judgmental person, is because you’re the greatest thing in my life. Everything I do is for you. You’re my best friend.

You’re my troublemaker. You’re the girl that makes me laugh until I cry. You’re the bright light in a dark room.

You’re the girl that continuously shows me that there’s more to life than just being an older and responsible sister. You’re the girl that’s constantly showing me what to live for. Who to love. What to fight for. What’s important. And what truly matters.

Looking at you is a moment of clarity. It’s a breath of fresh air. A moment of pure realization. The realization that life can be filled with more than just responsibilities and obligations. That there’s more to it.

And to me, being an older sister means just that. Being able to learn as much as you teach. And I want to thank you, for being you. And for shaping out to be such an exceptional human being.

And just know, there’s no war I wouldn’t go to battle for, for you.

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Kristina Modica is a writer and frequent contributor to Unwritten whose work focuses on topics of friendship, self-esteem, and relationships.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.