Being the Big Sister

I drove home yesterday. I didn’t want to and I didn’t have to, but I did because my little sister asked me to. There are three things that I know for certain I’m good at: procrastinating, spending money, and being a big sister.

Growing up, my parents always expected me to be the responsible one, the smart one, and the one who could be trusted. I did my best to emulate these qualities in everything I did, to the point I basically became a full-time babysitter at the age of ten. As the oldest of four, I didn’t choose to be the first born, but I can do the job pretty damn well.

But sadly being away at school only allows me to be a big sister from a distance. My 19-year-old sister is running around NYC, and my youngest brother and sister still live at home in Buffalo.(Yes I have a brother, nobody seems to know that?) So when my little sister texted me in the morning asking me to come watch her cheerleading competition, I somehow got in my car at 9:30 a.m. wearing last night’s makeup, and drove to Buffalo as fast as I could.

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My youngest sister is 12 years old and one of my best friends. Like me, she took up cheerleading and loves it as much as I do. She’s constantly asking me for my clothes I don’t wear anymore, and she ended up cutting her hair short a week after I cut mine. Of course she is going to want copy what I do, I’m flattered, but my job is to make sure what she is copying is dignified. All I want is to be someone she can proudly look up to. Knowing I am a role model for her definitely gives me more of a purpose and I’m so lucky to be able to have that reason.

One could argue that being a big sister is somewhat like being a mom…but in no way is that comparison applicable to me. To me it’s about being that person your sibling(s) can go to when going to mom is out of the question. “Yeah I’ll make sure mom doesn’t find out you skipped school,” or “Sure I’ll lend you money because you’re an idiot and spent all of yours on something stupid” (one of the perks of being the oldest includes the right to be brutally honest without penalty).

The responsibility factor is something I would say I’m good at handling. I’ve always been independent, and I believe it’s because I don’t know what it’s like to have someone older to depend on. I’ve done and figured out everything first so that my younger siblings never had/have to. It wouldn’t seem right if it was any different though. If the roles were reversed, this is how I’d envision the responsibilities weighing down on my 19-year-old sister:

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Better yet, if any of my siblings were to ever end up in jail, I’m almost positive they would call me first. And there I would be, bailing them out while figuring out how to spin the story so our parents wouldn’t disown them. I know, horrible scenario to imagine, but I think you get my point.

I think can speak for all big sisters alike: our job deserves more credit, but it’s the best job in the world.

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15 whys on a Wednesday

  • Why am I just starting my homework now?
  • Why did I spend $5 on a bag of gummy worms?
  • Why can’t I stop eating the bag of gummy worms?
  • Why is it not Friday?
  • Why am I the only one in my house who knows how to use a fuse box?
  • Why isn’t the wifi I’m paying for working?
  • Why can’t I remember the last time I wasn’t stressed out?
  • Why am I not a freshman?
  • Why am I not Blake Lively?
  • Why is my room a mess?
  • Why don’t I have any motivation to do something about the mess?
  • Why am I good at avoiding responsibilities?
  • Why didn’t I go to school in Florida?
  • Why is it not Friday?
  • WHY is it still not Friday?

Halloween reconsidered

Just like every other holiday, Halloween is another excuse to focus on something other than my pressing commitments.

I tend to go all out, as if the success in planning for this once a year event will determine my ability to feel accomplished. Halloween is probably the one holiday that I take very serious. And I rarely take anything serious.

Serious as in “I’d rather spend my time and money on something I’ll only use once because thats how messed up my priorities are.”

It’s so strange how differently I look at these situations now that I’m older. I used to think that I was too mature to dress up- yet I was in middle school so I probably didn’t know what the word ‘mature’ even meant. For my own sake, I should have appreciated having unlimited time to come up with a good idea and been thankful for my parents money that would have funded that idea. God, I hate younger-me.

Now when I actually want to celebrate Halloween, having no free time and single digits in my bank account doesn’t allow me to do so as easily. I’ll have to resort to putting a sheet over my head and calling it a day.

But I won’t. Knowing me I’ll spend money I don’t have on something I don’t need while convincing myself my priorities can wait until November. And obviously Halloween is done very differently in college than when we were younger, but hey, just because I didn’t appreciate the holiday then, doesn’t mean I can’t make up for loss time now. Does it count if I replace the candy with alcohol?

It seems like we spend our lives wanting to grow up and when we finally do, we only wish to be young again. To think I thought I was “too mature” in middle school. Here I am, almost 21 years old, counting down the days until Halloween. Oh how far I’ve come.

A home away from home

It’s my third day home and I have two more days to go. This probably sounds like a count down until my midterm break is over, and truthfully, it is. I never thought I would be thinking, “I’d rather be at school,” but here I am, lying on a twin bed, in a room that does’t feel like mine anymore, thinking just that.

I love my family, my dog, and the house I grew up in. But why do I feel as if I grew up so much more at college, on my own terms? I feel somewhat disconnected every time I go home. I feel as if I meant to press the pause button, but I actually pressed fast-forward. I realized that because I’m so focused on building my life at school, I tend forget about the life I leave behind at home.

I go to a small college about two hours from my hometown. It’s not far, but far enough to feel that separation. When I was a freshman in college, a day didn’t go by where I didn’t receive a text from my parents that read: ‘just checking in’. But even when those texts slowed down my sophomore year, I often found myself driving the two hours home on the weekend. Now a junior, I didn’t want break. I didn’t want to go home.

Horrible right? I didn’t want to go home to a loving family who would do my laundry, cook me dinner, and direct all their attention towards me.

These wonderful circumstances are outweighed by something that took me three years of living by myself and a handful of trips home to realize: I grew up. Where these comforts were once something I needed and expected, I now only see them as a nice break/change of pace from my own reality. But this time, I didn’t feel myself longing for that change of pace. I’m happy with my current pace.

I could talk about why I don’t rejoice in going home; like how my empty bedroom doesn’t feel like mine anymore, or how living out of a suitcase gets old. But what I think is more important is how this sudden change happened without me noticing it.

As my moms picking up the empty liquor bottles in my room from the night before while asking me every question under the sun about my life, I realize that “living at home” is not everything it used to mean to me. My family now sees me as being independently established and depict me to be responsible (I’ll just let them think that). They see me differently and they’re proud of who I am becoming, which is  one of the greatest feelings in the world. I’m grateful for the opportunity my parents gave me to be able to experience a life away from them; while at the same time, always willing to welcome me home with open arms at any time. It’s probably a feeling I won’t be able to understand until I am a mother myself.

But I somewhat feel as if I’ve reached a point in my life where I don’t need that comfort. I’m mature and (somewhat) prepared enough to live on my own, and I like doing so. My friends have become my family, and my tiny, imperfect, college apartment has become my new home. Though I realize this lifestyle is temporary, the clock is ticking and that clock stops when I come home for break. It’s not a bad thing, but it sure puts my life into perspective.

Though this “pause” on reality is nice, it throws me off. Thus in the midst of spending countless hours on my couch watching Netflix with no pressing commitments, I can’t help but count down the days until I can return to my routine. Even if my routine is stressful, unrealistic, and demanding, it has become blessing in disguise to the point it has changed my definition of normal. Honestly, I’d say I’m pretty lucky to be able to live in a place that I can consider to be a second home.

Or in other words: Take me back to a life where I can leave dirty dishes in the sink and order a whole pizza for myself without my mom questioning my sanity.

Two more days.

I’m inventing an app

You’d think finding my car in a parking lot wouldn’t be the most stressful part of my day. As I aimlessly and embarrassingly wander up and down rows of cars trying to locate my tiny black Chevy cobalt in a sea of similar looking cars, it hits me-

“I wish there was an app for that”

One that would prevent me from looking like a complete idiot who failed to remember where they parked their vehicle just a short 50 minutes before. Once I forgot I parked my car on the complete opposite side of campus and it only took me ten minutes, and three other people helping me, until I realized. Now that was a walk of shame if I ever took one.

Yeah the alarm button is a solution, but what does a blaring, repeating horn symbolize? An idiot who forgot where she parked her car.

Therefore, I will create an app that will not only help me find my car quicker, but also save me from looking like an idiot. Now only if that app could be as effective on the weekends, then I’d be golden.