Our Lives are Different. And that’s okay.

Growing up the baby of the family isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

There is this idea that being the  youngest means you get away with everything your older sibling/s ended up grounded for weeks for.

Was I my mothers “wild child”? Yes, I’m not denying that. But my sister didn’t grow up doing all the things typical kids and teenagers do.

My sister is disabled. She didn’t go out with friends to the mall, to see a movie, to go shopping. She didn’t date. I love my sister very much and we have amazing memories growing up even though we have a significant age gap of 7 years. We didn’t have the traditional sister relationship where you older sister passes on her experiences and wisdom. But I don’t fault my sister for that. Never really thought about it till now.

I’ve never thought about any of this until recently. There have been a couple things brought up that made me realize that people think my sister is an innocent soul and that I’m the terrible child.

One terrible mistake people make is to assume that disabled means innocent. While it may seem sad that my sister missed out it doesn’t mean that I had it easier. It only means that my experience in life has been different. And that’s okay.

I’m sure I gave my mother one too many gray hairs. I wasn’t a perfect daughter back then and I’m certain I’m not a perfect daughter now. Only in addition to trying to be a decent daughter I have to balance being a wife and a mother to my children.

These are all roles that have their overwhelming moments. I’m nowhere near perfect in any of these roles. I do my best.

I consider myself to have grown up with a good life. I know I wasn’t an easy one to raise but I didn’t turn out too bad.

I didn’t give my mom any crazy trouble until I turned 18. It’s not like I was a promiscuous teenager who ended up 16 and pregnant. I didn’t date anyone in high school. I wasn’t a drop out. When I was 18 I took care of my grandmother until I couldn’t handle seeing her deteriorate each day. I didn’t slack off after I stopped taking care of her. The day my grandma died I was at work. It’s pretty easy to realize whats going on when you drive up and see vehicles from every family member parked along the street. Not easy.

My mom had cancer when I was 15 years old. From a young age I knew I’d grow up to someday take care of my sister or watch her die due to her health issues. I already have a dead father, to think your mom might die, and know that someday you might have to watch your sister die too. That’s rough stuff. But I’m the baby of the family so that means my life was easier, right?

My faults are easier for people to recognize.

Much was and still is expected from me because I’m not the one who is disabled. I don’t feel burdened with it. But I do get bitter when people think I’ve had an easy life.

 

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