Older siblings are a blessing and a curse. OK, curse is a strong word, but it was certainly terrifying and embarrassing growing up as an 8-year-old girl with an 18-year-old brother whose idea of fun was mooning me when I was half asleep and headed to the kitchen for breakfast.
Thankfully, my other brother has matured with time, and now we’re really close. The same goes for my older sister. Though we have dealt with our share of tension over the past few years, I learned a lot from her about hard work and determination. Here are eight reasons I’m thankful for my older siblings—traumatizing practical jokes and all.
1. I Learn From Their Mistakes
Both of my siblings have done some really stupid things, and they know I mean that in the most loving way possible. My mom would call me and say “Guess what your brother did!” and I would sit through at least 15 minutes of her ranting about his most recent—often hilarious—mistake.
Usually my siblings’ mistakes were harmless, but watching the aftermath of their choices has helped me weigh the consequences of my own decisions before acting recklessly.
2. I Learned Early That Hard Work Pays Off
When my older sister was in high school, she worked two jobs at different restaurants in our hometown. She did this so that she would have money to drive to see her friends and treat herself to outings.
One day I came home from school and there were two new pairs of shoes sitting on my bed with a note from her. She said she didn’t know which color I would prefer, so she bought both for me. That small action to show she cared stuck with me. Now, I try to reach out with actions to tell people that I’m thinking about them. But the fact that she had used her own money to do something nice for me also affected me. With hard work, she could take care of herself and do nice things for the people she loved.
When I was 14, I got a worker’s permit to start working at a local horse stables. I worked there until I graduated high school, and I credit seeing my sister work hard as the reason behind my own actions.
3. They Are Wiser
Sometimes I hate admitting this, and I know that my older brother will jokingly use it against me very soon, but both of my older siblings have had more life experience than I have simply because they are older. I can turn to them for advice about anything, and, though they may not always have a perfect answer, they always do their best to provide me with guidance. And the older I get, the more I appreciate their wisdom.
4. They Never Judge Me
My older siblings are five and 10 years old than I am, which means that we’ve grown up in slightly different generations. For example, neither of my siblings really understand how I could date someone that I met online.
But, even when my online dating adventures fail, they never resort to “I told you so” and they never, ever laugh at me. And it’s because they’ve often been through something slightly similar.
5. They Can Always Make Me Laugh
My older siblings won’t usually laugh at me, but they will laugh with me—whenever and where ever. If I really need it, they can pick me up and help me laugh at myself if I’m in a particularly ridiculous situation.
My older brother, especially, inherited my mother’s gift for laughter in the face of any obstacle or situation, and it’s one of the many reasons I admire him.
6. They Aren’t Afraid To Call Me Out Sometimes
If I’m pointedly ignoring some glaringly obvious mistake I’ve made, or if I’m being a little selfish, my siblings aren’t afraid to point it out.
Of course, this doesn’t always go over well, because I often don’t take it as a sign of love. But, eventually, I come around and remember that they just want the best for me.
7. They Are My Biggest Fans
Whenever I go through a breakup, my older brother lists my good qualities while simultaneously repeating how my ex is a “complete idiot” for not seeing them.
He never lets me forget that I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at and no person should make me feel anything less than amazing.
8. They’re Always There For Me
No matter how many fights we get in or how long we’ve gone without calling each other, I know that my older siblings would drive across the country if I needed help. They would open their doors to me and take me in if it came down to that. And I would do the same.
We have gone through (and will continue to go through) really tough times together, but I know that we will always get through it.