Yesterday was a pretty important day to my family: my new cousin Scarlet was born. It was my first time watching the experience of childbirth play out around me at an older, more understanding age. When my younger cousin Juliet was born, I was 14-years-old, and didn’t get to go into the delivery room immediately after and meet her. April 5th was such a learning experience for me in many ways, and I’m truly grateful to my cousins (Scarlet’s parents) Jess and Andy for letting me be a part of it.
While all of this was going yesterday, I couldn’t help but think about the role of an older sister. I am an older sister to my awesome siblings Ricky and Kayla, my Aunt Donna is the older sister to my mom, Scarlet’s mom, Jess, is the older sister of many siblings, and now 6-year-old Juliet will join the ranks and assume her role as “big sis” just like so many others.
Being an older sister has never felt like a daunting responsibility or task—anyone can tell you that I’ve embraced the role since my very introduction to my younger brother and sister. Sometimes I find myself acting more like a mother to them than I do a sister; my protective instincts are natural and I can’t help but treat them as such.
Regardless of whether that’s a healthy idea for an older sister to take on, there is definitely a certain role that Juliet will play in Scarlet’s life. Whether she assumes this role or not is entirely up to her decisions, and as someone who was present in the first moment the two girls met, I’m sure Jules will be up for the task. She’s been so excited about her new sister coming into her life for 9 months, and now Scarlet’s finally here. So, what does it mean to be a big sister? I can surely tell you a thing or two about that, and I’ve thought long and hard about the lessons I want Juliet to know as a fellow big sis.
Below are a few things for Juliet to keep in mind, from one older sister to another:
- Scarlet will always look up to you, so make sure you’re setting a good example for her. Even when you don’t realize it, she’ll be watching what you’re doing and copying you.
- Share with Scarlet. Share your books and toys so that you two have certain interests in common. Share your thoughts with her so that there’s open dialogue between you. Share your secrets so you have a special bond that no one else can understand.
- Lock your closet (don’t feel bad if you don’t want to share clothes). Trust me, give it a handful of years and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
- Spend time with your sis. You’re a lot older than her, so eventually there will be times when you’re busy in high school and she’ll be stuck in the dreaded middle school years, but always make sure to spend time together. It’ll mean the world to her, and it’ll help your relationship to grow when you’re both older.
- Have fun. Put on plays, sing songs, watch movies, and go on adventures. Just always be safe and tell mom what you’re doing, but have lots of fun! Having those great memories when you’re older will be fun to look back on, and they’ll also make for great pictures for mom and dad! No matter what’s going on at school or if you’re having a bad day, remember that your younger sister is always there to have fun with!
- Love Scarlet with all of your heart. Being a big sister can be tough sometimes, because you’ll have to look out for her and be more responsible. But do it with love. Showing your younger sister that you love her is so important because then she’ll understand that even when you’re being bossy or overprotective, you’re doing it with love.