Siblings: Love > Guilt

There's the perennial discussion... is it better to be the oldest or the youngest sibling? There are obviously pros and cons to both and it also depends on each individual family, but I think, and my opinion is obviously bias, the older siblings definitely have one thing on the younger siblings. 

Older siblings have to live with Older Sibling Guilt (OSG).

Being an older sibling myself in all my years of talking to other older siblings, there is not one, NOT ONE, older sibling that does not feel guilty, deeply guilty about something or... many things they have done to their younger sibling. In our my-young-brother/sister-gets-away-with-anything angst, at one point or another, we have certainly taken advantage of our poor credulous annoying younger brothers or sisters. I've been thinking about this lately looking at my own kids.

Now that Kaitlyn is 10 months old she and and Joey, my 3 year old son, are starting to interact more and more. As each day goes by I see they have an interesting dynamic. There are times when they play well together but often times he is rough with her. When we scold him sometimes he'll turn around and scold Kaitlyn, "That's not okay Kaitlyn!" When I see this, I warn him, "Joey be nice to Kaitlyn or else you will regret it later." He looks at me with the what-the-heck-are-you-talking-about look. O you will see...

There are several things I have done to my brother that till this day make me feel so guilty. Things that he doesn't even remember and does not hold against me at all. But I still know what I did...So heres my bag of OSG:

When my brother and I were in elementary school we were latchkey kids, meaning my parents were never home when my brother and I got home from school. Unfortunately for my brother, it was my domain when my parents weren't home.  This is when I would "cook" for my brother. I would open the fridge and just pull out whatever looked old. My mom was busy and in her daechoongness wouldn't clear out things in the fridge on a regular basis so there would be some gross finds. I would throw in all different kinds of banchan (korean side dishes) like meolchi (anchovies), kimchi, chunks of meat, old pasta sauce, and ranch dressing and mix it together in a large bowl. I would bring it in front of my brother expecting him to eat it, and he did.

My brother was such a kind sweet hearted boy and pretty much did anything I asked of him. He would look hesitantly at the bowl but would pick up his fork and eat it.

When I asked him what he thought would nervously say, "Its good!" Now, on occasion he would say things like, "Um.. its a little salty" (probably from the spoonful of sea salt I put in it).

My response, "How could you not like it after I went through so much trouble to 'cook' this for you!!!"

"Sorry" he would say and finish the last bite. For a drink I would take our squeeze bottle of pancake syrup and pour it into a cup... and he would drink it!

For dessert I remember digging through the fridge which was more like an archeological mission because my mom barely cleaned out the fridge. I remember finding a year old pint of chocolate ice cream, gross curdled crusty frost covered ice cream. I spooned it out and noticed it looked more like a brown sponge. So I put the scoops in a bowl of milk and presented it to my brother as....Ta da Brownies! "Yay" he would say nervously, "brownies.." He ate it all.

Ahhh! I feel terrible just thinking about it! Moving on..

One time when we were really young we lived in an apartment complex with a large parking lot. I was about six and my brother was about three. One time when I got mad at my parents I dramatically told my brother I was running away from home. He starts crying and telling me not to go. I want to see how far I can take this, so I continue in my dramatic play on how I can no longer live with our parents, they are driving me crazy (I was only six). My brother starts begging me not to leave. Then I  start getting out my barbie doll clothes and I start folding them and putting them into a plastic basket (I thought I was Dorothy or something). My brother, sees that I'm packing clothes and starts really crying. I head out to the parking lot and hes following me saying "Noona (older sister)! Don't go!" crying and crying. I get to the end of the large parking lot, about to hit the main road. I turn around and think "okie thats enough" and I say "Nevermind..." my brother is ecstatic because he thinks he changed my mind....My poor brother!!..Next...

My brother believed everything I told him. When he was in second grade I thought I'd play a joke. I told him that our family was actually incredibly rich. I told him that our father got in trouble with the law and the government detained all our parent's money for the time being. I said that we are one of few families on earth that owned flying cars. Then I said when 3 years pass the government will forgive all grievences and give us back our flying cars...

Kid you not! 3 years later my brother asks, "Joy when are we getting our flying cars?" at first I have no idea what he's talking about. "Huh??"... and then I remember. "Wow I just said that to mess around with you!" Laughing. My brother looks completely crushed. "Really? I've been waiting for 3 years for my flying car..." looks sad...

Okie so those are just some of my OSG moments, there are many others that I did not mention but you get the picture. When I think of these moments my OSG fills my heart and I feel so bad!

Surprisingly, by the grace of God, despite these moments my brother and I had a really close relationship. Many of my friends and people around us have said that they've never seen a closer brother/sister relationship. I think we were close because no one could relate with me the way my brother could. We were both Korean Americans in an all caucasian school. We both knew what it was like to struggle with our identity as Asian Americans and struggle with the dichotomy between American and Korean culture.  Even if I found other KA's that struggled like I did, only my brother knew the frustrations of my mom's daechoongness and my dad's sternness. In a time when we felt alone and confused we always had each other. When I faced racism at school and my self esteem was at an all time low, as soon as I got home, all was forgotten, because I was safe, I had my brother. I could talk to my brother about anything and all the stress from peers and parents would melt away. Not only that, my brother made me laugh. His wife disagrees, but till this day I am fully convinced he is the funniest guy ever. No one can make me laugh like my brother. As I said at his wedding rehearsal dinner speech "God gave me my parents to give me my name, He gave me my brother to help me live it out." Good thing my love > than my guilt =)

Me and my brother

Joey and Kaitlyn

Does not want to play with her unless that means....

 Throwing the blanket on her...

 Shes ok.

And he rolls over her...

Climbs on her. 

Kaitlyn loving every minute of it!

These past few days it has been very glaringly clear, we live in a dark cruel unpredictable world. I know they will have their share of hardships and struggles. When the world doesn't make sense I hope they will love, protect and be there for each other the way my brother was there for me.