Kaitlin is the youngest of five girls, and there is an eleven year age gap from Kaitlin to her oldest sister. When she told me how she grew up as the youngest, I was a little stunned because I, being the middle child out of four girls, don’t know the frustrations of being the youngest.
Her oldest sister is thirty, which made a large generational gap between them during Kaitlin’s childhood. When Kaitlin started second grade, her oldest sister just graduated high school. Her other sisters, being two and eight years apart from her, were closer to her in age. She didn’t spend a lot of time with her sisters being at home together: Her oldest sister moved out of the house when she was seven.
“They were in completely different stages of their lives,” Kaitlin said. Now, most of her sisters are married or engaged. The generational gap was frustrating for her because it caused tensions with her sisters. As the youngest child, she was treated differently. Her fourth oldest sister, having already been through the parental trials of curfews and house rules, was upset that Kaitlin didn’t have to follow the same rules she did. There were no curfews and fewer house rules for Kaitlin.
Not Every Family Grows Up Together
Understanding how Kaitlin viewed her sisters in their different stages of life made me realize that not all families have small age gaps like mine. There can be generations between siblings that develop them in different ways. Kaitlin formed different relationships with her sisters, and she only lived with her oldest sister until she was seven.
All of my three sisters remained in the household until I was about eighteen. I realize now that I took what I had for granted. Now that my oldest sisters are out living their lives, there is a distance between us. But Kaitlin has lived with that distance for a good chunk of her life—and that surprised me. Stepping in Kaitlin’s shoes taught me that not every family grows up together.
Join me this Friday for more of Kaitlin’s story about how being the youngest out of five girls influenced her parent’s perception of her.
If you haven’t already, read my introductory post to this series “Roots.”
Abby Jewett is an English Major at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, MN. She is an aspiring author with an ever-growing curiosity for the world around her. Follow her on Twitter and read her personal blog.