I am a man. The oldest child, with 3 younger sisters. Growing up I was always favored over them in some way. It was most apparent in our grandmother, who would coddle me and defend me from getting scolded for my mistakes, but wouldn’t extend that same privilege to her granddaughters. She definitely held me to a different standard than my sisters, but it wasn’t until the three of them started pointing it out that I started noticing it too.
For example all four of us siblings know our way around a kitchen by now, but where I got to learn at my own pace, after graduating from college, my sisters were roped into helping in the kitchen as early as high school. Even now, when they help around the kitchen, it is only what is expected of them, but when I do it I am praised and lauded.
I worry about what it must do to my sisters’ self-esteem, when they’re treated as less important than me by the people who are supposed to be our home. They take refuge in each other, I think. I want to be there for them the way my grandmother was there for me – as a sort of shield against the real world – but as we get older that seems less like something they need. I just want them to know I’m there for them in any way that they need.