Being the youngest child comes with frequent change and early maturity

By Allie Mattes, Intern

For many children, being able to see your siblings is an everyday occurrence, but I only get to see my brother and sisters every few months. Siblings are like built-in best friends, and they were even more than that for me. They were best friends that I was able to look up to each day for advice. Each of my siblings played a crucial role in shaping me into the person that I am today. 

My parents still have one child left in the nest, but as that child, I feel as though I am an empty nester in terms of siblings. Some of the negatives growing up as the youngest child have changed as I have gotten older. With a large age gap between me and my siblings, it has always been hard to understand certain things that my siblings were going through as they began high school. When they went to homecoming, I was just beginning middle school. Now, I understand their experiences as they help me prepare for the obstacles that come with being a high schooler and curl my hair for my own homecoming. My siblings and I have always valued family time growing up, but the activities that we do when we’re together have changed throughout the years. Traditions of weekly board games as my siblings developed into adults became a much less frequent occurrence, and we began to spend time with each other during family dinner movie nights. 

When growing up as the youngest child, the positives can overturn the downsides. My sister, Hannah, recently relocated to Texas for a new job. Now, instead of family board game nights, I get to go catch a Harry Styles concert with them in Texas. My sister, Maggie, attends a university in Chicago, Illinois. My parents and I are able to drive there for the weekend, have dinner, shop and explore the city. 

As my siblings grow up and begin their careers, our house will always be a home base for a movie night or family dinner. The more that the miles between my siblings and I grow, the more we appreciate each other. Although age gaps between siblings may make a significant difference for many sibling relationships, I believe that it can also bring siblings closer together.