I’m the youngest in my family. I’m also the shortest. My dad has referred to me as “littlest girl” since I can remember, though he calls me that less and my nieces that more now that they exist. I’m pretty sure that all of them will be taller than me some day, but I can claim being bigger than them for now.
I used to wonder what it would be like to be a big sister. (My sister could tell you that it was annoying, but I’m going to pass over that one.) My parents didn’t intend to get pregnant a fourth time, but they did, and I arrived. So there was no chance of me having a younger sibling. I would sometimes think about how that made me feel. Did I like being the youngest? Did I wish I wasn’t? Did it really matter?
What I generally always came back to was this: It was frustrating to be the one that was last to do everything sometimes. It was annoying to be the one that was way over-protected. It was tough being the one that was too little to be taken seriously or seen as having a valid opinion, even when I got older, for a long time. I hated feeling like I had to live up to my sibling’s choices. But, I also got to see what it was like to be an only child when all my siblings were in college or married while I had two years of high school left. I didn’t have to be the first to figure something out in many areas of life. I always had an older sibling I could call to vent or ask advice. And mom didn’t cry for a month when I went to college. Or even for a day. She was just glad we were all outta there. So basically, being the youngest is just like falling into any other place in the order of a family-there are good and bad things about it, but I was used to it, so why change it?
I think part of the reason that I didn’t mind being the youngest at home is that I always kind of “adopted” little siblings elsewhere. One of my girlfriends from high school, Lauren, had a little brother that I adored. His name was Logan, and we got along really well. We joked about him being my little brother so much that we started to call each other “sis” and “little bro” at times.
Then there was Tom’s brother, Ben. Tom and I started dating a few weeks before I turned 15. Ben was an uber-introvert, and I was about as extroverted as it got. I would just go sit next to him and talk his ear off every time I saw him, and Ben would say maybe 3 words the whole time. And at the end of our conversation, I would say, “I’m going to get you to open up and talk to me, ya know. You might as well accept it.” I’ve been eating my words for years. Somewhere along the way, Ben just started to be himself around me, and he really is one of both mine and Tom’s best friends.
One of my best friends who loves to pick on me. We have had full out shouting matches, neither of us really angry (except that one time at a UGA/GT game, but that wasn’t really anger so much as smack talking and one yelling reply) at the other. Anyway, Ben likes to make fun of me, put me in my place, and generally make sure I don’t get too comfortable. He’s hilarious, and our love-hate banter works for us.
I won’t even get started on how he now has their cousin Eli talking to me the same way. They’re two of a kind. I’ve started answering to “little girl.” I am older than them, so it doesn’t seem right, but then…Eli is about 6’4″. Tom usually just rolls his eyes and lets us make fun of each other. But when it comes down to it, we would do anything for each other, and we both know it. McFarlin men come from good stock. I’m in love with Tom, and Ben’s like my own little brother.
What about a little sister? Well, I’ve adopted one of those too. After my freshman year of college, I worked and saved all summer so that I could “adopt” a little sister from the freshman class that would join my sorority in the upcoming fall. We have a tradition of showering them with gifts (like laundry baskets full of movies, snacks, clothes, books, and more), so you have to have at least $200 or more set aside. I remember being so excited. Who would this girl be? Would we really be friends or would we just kind of hang out at first then not so much in the following semesters and years? Would it be worth that summer of work?
Well, I had my answer soon enough. The second day of rush, one of my sorority sisters pulled me aside and said that a girl, Jessica, who came through our house the day before was awesome and that she knew we would get along. She wanted me to be the one who “rushed” her the second time she came by. I can’t help how incredibly werid this sounds, but meeting her was the closest thing I’d ever come to experiencing “love at first sight”…just not the mushy, in-love feeling. More like the: I want to be friends with you immediately feeling. I’m not the only girl who has experienced this. We call it having a “Rush Crush.”
Jessica and I got along so well right off the bat, and she was just this cute, sweet, friendly, bubbly personality. We had fun, and I can tell you that that’s rare during rush, at least for me. I was sleep-deprived, stressed, and living on a friend’s futon that week. So meeting someone who made it fun, that was great.
She ended up joining my sorority, and we hung out multiple times a week, every week. When big sis/lil sis week came around, we requested each other and were matched up. Over the next several years, we remained close, and we still are. We were in each other’s weddings, we’re in book club together, and we actually only live about 10 minutes apart now.
One funny thing though, is that she’s much taller than me. And so is her lil sis, Sophe. And Sophe’s lil sis, Jessica (yes, we had two Jessicas in our “family.”) Somehow that always happens to me. I’m always the little big sister.
I can live with it. Love all you “little siblings!” Thanks for letting me “adopt” you!