My brothers taunted and cared for me in equal measure. There's a seven-year gap between the youngest and me. And they expected a brother.
In the early hours of New Year’s Day 1995, my parents were expecting the arrival of a bouncing baby boy. Unfortunately for them, out came a hefty nine and a half pound baby girl. A shock to both my parents and my two older brothers, who expected another minion to join them in their farming escapades.
Instead, they received an overly dramatic, emotional and stubborn little sister who would ravage their lives for years to come.
My relationship with my brothers has changed throughout the years. A seven-year gap separates the nearest in age and I, so I was very much treated as the baby while growing up. They taunted and cared for me in equal measure. They told me there was a monster living in the hot press who would eat me but they would also sit and watch The Lion King with me on repeat, no matter how annoying listening to “Circle of Life” became.
For a while, I thought my middle brother was adopted and ferociously threatened my mother to admit the truth.
Years later I discovered he was simply going through puberty at the time.
“We would play farms in the hallway but they would never give me the good cows.”
As a child you are constantly changing, growing in centimetres and knowledge, but as the youngest child, I never thought I would catch up with them. I was always chasing them, believing that the common discord of age would separate my brothers from I. They had other interests and never wanted to play kitchen with their little sister.
We would play farms in the hallway but they would never give me the good cows. I would get the one with three legs and a tractor with one wheel. “Fair game” they would say, I came into the family too late to acquire even a decent pretend field. So why would they want to associate with their little sister in later years?
Their friends became my friends
But as age caught up with me and the generational gap between us grew smaller, our interests seemed to intertwine. The same tastes in music, TV and humour made us friends. They began to allow me to join them on their nights out. Having two older brothers is particularly convenient when you’re 17 years old and life revolves around the next chance to get your hands on a pint of cider. My mother had no qualms in letting me socialise when she knew my brothers would be near to keep my underage habits in check. Soon, their friends became my friends.
“I have been unconditionally cared for and protected by two loving giants all my life.”
You would think to have two older brothers means any man to look my way would be running to the hills with his tail between his legs. However, this didn’t quite happen. Where I became protective, my siblings took the “if we didn’t see or hear about it, it didn’t happen” approach. I apologise profusely to the girls who came into contact with me but it could not be helped. In my head, no one could be good enough for my brothers. Both were held so high in my regard, that only the very best would do. Now, the guard comes down after some chipping at the iceberg persona. I promise I am a nice person underneath it all.
My mother tells me I am well looked after. And she is right. Despite it all, I have been unconditionally cared for and protected by two loving giants all my life. Trust me when I say I have found myself in some precarious positions, and each time my brothers have saved me. But most importantly they never told my mother about it.
I realise just how lucky I am. My heart aches when I hear of siblings who don’t talk or have a relationship. But, such is life. Not everything works out, and not everyone is the same. You are dealt your lot, and with that, you do your best. We still fight, like everyone. And sometimes I still get a tickly inkling that the middle one is adopted but like all feelings, it too passes.
They have driven me the length and breadth of the country, taken me to concerts and restaurants and vitally, purchased a hairdryer for me. But most of all, they are the pillars that I can depend on. They are my brothers. My greatest confidants. My best friends.
I just hope that they think the same and that the hefty nine and a half pound baby didn’t turn out so bad after all.
This article was originally published in September 2021.