A Letter to My Siblings Decades Younger Than Me

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I remember what year the you were born, because it was the year that I graduated high school. A twin brother and sister, added to a 3-year-old Gigi. You three were your own little family, nestled in the arms of much older siblings.

Even though I didn’t give birth to you, I feel an overwhelming love and protectiveness for you. I’d battle for you and spoil you. Like a sister, a parent and an aunt all rolled into one.

The generational gap between us gets confusing. When I turned 30, I was twice Gigi’s age at 15. I’m old enough to be the twins’ young mom. You don’t remember the Christmases and family trips of my childhood. And I missed part of your childhood when I got married and moved away. It still isn’t always easy for us to relate. You don’t remember the family friend I’m talking about, and I don’t know your friends or how to use “yeet.”

I try to be intentional, because a close relationship across the years takes effort. From special read-alouds and recipes when you were tiny, to conversations on life now, I want to build memories with you.

The family has grown and changed from what it was like when I was little. You got our parents when they were more experienced and more financially stable; I got them younger and I got more years with dad.

With nearly two decades between us, it is natural that family viewpoints matured and rules shifted. You got your ears pierced so young in comparison! I don’t begrudge you any of that. I enjoyed my childhood and I hope you do too.

In fact, I want you to have an easier way and more good things. I wish I could bridge every stream, remove every boulder and map out a safe, pain-free way for you. Life lessons and tough love are for others—I just want you to be happy.

Spoiling you is what’s fun about being older, with a driver’s license and money. I loved it when you were little enough to be thrilled with the science museum and ice cream on your birthdays. What will bring excitement to your teenage faces now? I hope I find it.   

Your unique position in the family was clear, when at just five years old, you became uncle and aunt to my first born. I think it’s a tricky place for you, not always with the grownups, but not quite fitting with my kids and their cousins. You are, however, the best friends my kids could have asked for. You’re their favorite babysitters. I know you love them, but I worry about burdening you with childcare. At holidays, they want to sit by you and run off to paint watercolors at your desk—which definitely helps me out. I just don’t want to make being their aunts and uncle an obligation.

I don’t always understand what you’re going through, and I definitely give you uncalled for advice sometimes. No matter what, I’m really proud of what kind, thoughtful people you’ve grown into.    

So here I am, in between being your big sister, an extra parent and a cool-ish aunt. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want to be here for you and I don’t always know how. All I know is I’ll love you always.