Three Things I’ve Learnt From My Younger Sister

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“She’s taught me to be someone that I’m proud of because I always want to be a role-model for her.”

Words by Amy Gibson

Images by Fleur and Detail for HAUS ALMA

I spent the first five years of my life begging my parents for a little sister and was over the moon when I finally got one in 2002. Anyone who has ever had a baby sister will know what I mean when I say they get away with anything, they are always the ‘cute’ one and steal pretty much everything you own. You try your best to offer advice and guidance, but they are so stubborn that most of this falls on deaf ears (yes, I am talking about the black hair Olivia!) My sister and I are polar opposites, my parents call me the ‘Disney princess’ so laid back I’m horizontal. I like to make people happy and care too much what others think which also makes me a bit of a pushover. My sister is the complete opposite, she is quite possibly the grumpiest person I know, gets quite anxious and often puts herself first. She is also the most headstrong, determined, brave and independent person I know, and for this I admire her. She has taught me so much in the last 16 years that I am only just beginning to fully appreciate.


She’s taught me how to be patient

It’s a classic line from all parents with multiple children ‘be nice she’s younger than you’ (even when she’s the one in the wrong) and nothing used to wind me up more than hearing that! She could be relentlessly annoying and yet still it was always my prerogative to be the patient one. Little sisters have a way of getting away with stuff you could only dream of because they are the baby of the family. Even as we grew up, I had to keep reminding myself to be patient. For example, two months ago she decided she was dying her hair black. Despite all of our better judgements, it was decided and no one could change her mind. My options were to do it for her, or let her do it and risk it looking worse. Now, I admit, we might have been wrong and her hair really suits her but it still required a lot of patience and tongue-biting to get to that point. When I went to university, I told her that she could wear the clothes I left behind. Since then, she has taken that as an invite to wear anything I own. I’m back at home now and she still takes everything from me, and has zero shame doing it. What I’m trying to say is, that even after all these years, I still struggle with the patient thing at times, but she has definitely shown me that patience is a virtue. Even still, with regards to the clothes stealing, they do say that imitation is the best type of flattery!

She’s shown me how to embrace individuality

I hate to admit it, but I have spent a lot of my life trying to make my sister be more like me. Although it might sound like it, It doesn’t come from an entirely self-obsessed place. I have had so many great moments in my life that I want her to experience too and I sometimes think she will experience them by copying the way I have done things. What I have failed to realise is that by her taking her own path, she is experiencing many different wonderful things too and we are just living our own individual lives.

I used to love my dancing, and it has brought me some incredible experiences and friendships so I encouraged her to take GCSE dance. It sounds dramatic but when she decided that she wasn’t doing the big end of year show I was absolutely gutted. It was the highlight of my year every year, and I always had these romantic visions that when it ended for me, I would still be turning up every year to watch my sister carry on in my footsteps. But, honestly, she didn’t need all that to make good friendships or positive memories because she did all of that on her own. I genuinely think she has more of a social life than I did at her age and who’s to say that either of us did it right or wrong? We’re both happy and that’s what counts.


She’s taught me the true definition of a best friend

Best friends bring out the best in each other, and I genuinely think we do. She’s taught me to be someone that I’m proud of because I always want to be a role-model for her. There’s nearly six years between us so we haven’t always been the best of friends as other siblings with smaller age gaps, but it’s taught me to be fiercely protective, and as she gets older and wiser (and probably braver) than me, I don’t need to be as protective anymore. She is becoming one of my closest friends and I love the person that she is. She’s no longer just the annoying little sister, she has her own personality and we get on better than ever. I’m proud of her individuality and grateful that we are not exactly the same. As an older sister, I always thought that she would be the one learning from me, but I’m beginning to learn that there’s so much she already has, and will continue to teach me instead.