If you’re the youngest child in your family, you might think you had it pretty rough. After all, your wardrobe probably consisted exclusively of hand-me-downs. If your older siblings weren’t allowed to do something, they usually set the precedent for how your parents would enforce the rules when it came to you — even if times had totally changed. (Hello, cell phones!) And you were probably the biggest target of your siblings’ merciless teasing.
While being the littlest kid in the bunch certainly has its drawbacks, no one can deny it also has its perks. Being the youngest sibling often means you’re seen as the “baby,” no matter how old you get, allowing you to skate by with less-than-adult behavior far longer than you should. And many people believe that the youngest child receives special treatment as mom and dad’s “favorite.” Last but not least, parents are often just plain tired by the time they get around to their last kid, meaning they may be more lax about everything from curfews to household chores.
If you’re the baby of the family, you might realize that you actually owe your older brothers and sisters an apology or two. In my family, it was just me and my sister, so I thankfully only have one person to answer to, but I feel I must atone nonetheless.
Here’s a list of five things I would like to formally apologize for, on behalf of youngest siblings the world over:
1. Sorry I wouldn’t leave you and your friends alone.
With seven years between us, I thought my sister and her friends were just the coolest when I was growing up. (Confession: I still do.) Whether they were hitting the mall or having a sleepover, I felt entitled to tag along. While my older sister always humored me (and even went out of her way to include me in activities I was way too young for, like late-night makeovers), I realize now that she probably wishes she had some time alone with her friends without her kid sister asking a bunch of questions.
2. Sorry for stealing your stuff.
Once I decided to play “robbers” with my friends. Our target? My sister’s bedroom. I looted her dresser drawers and nightstands for all her most prized possessions and stuffed them in a garbage bag. In the process, I accidentally broke some (important and sentimental) items. Whoops! It took some time before she forgave me, yet that didn’t stop me from continuing to take her makeup, her clothes and basically anything else of hers I felt like “borrowing” as I got older.
3. Sorry I got away with everything.
I was a sensitive child. That coupled with the fact that I was the youngest meant that if I so much as shed a single tear, my parents would pretty much give me whatever I wanted. While my parents often expected mature behavior from my sister as the eldest child, I was allowed to use the “but she’s just a kid” excuse long past when I could reasonably be considered a “kid.”
4. Sorry I was so annoying.
Sure, my sister was always telling me tall tales because she knew my gullible mind would accept them. And yes, she pushed me in the pool more than a couple times. She may have laughed a little too long when I couldn’t remember my ABCs. But for all the grief she gave me, I paid her back in spades. Whether I was begging her to play Barbies for the umpteenth time, inserting myself into her social life (see No. 1 above), snagging her favorite sweater (see No. 2 above) or just generally being an annoying little kid, I realize now she was actually pretty patient.
5. Sorry I was the ungrateful beneficiary of your hard work.
When my sister convinced our mom and dad that she should be able to go to Mexico on a senior trip in high school, she paved the way for my spring break in Panama City Beach. When she got them to come around to the idea of her going to college out of state, they didn’t blink an eye when I announced I was doing the same. As far as our family goes, my sister was a trailblazer. And I probably never properly thanked her for her service!
What apologies do you need to make to your older sisters or brothers?