Sibling age gap lends to unique relationship

Sophie Vick, co-sports editor

It was 2006, an amazing sunset on a beach in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. It was my sixth birthday and I had just received a coveted American Girl Doll. In my world, everything was perfect. I had matching outfits with my new plastic friend, I was with my family on a beach, and of course, it was my birthday. I was on cloud nine, showing off my new friend, and then BAM! A punch right to the stomach. I look up with sand in my eyes, and there she was; my 14-year-old sister had just punched my 6-year-old tummy out of jealousy. This was pretty much the soundtrack of our relationship for most of our younger years.

Two years, maybe three, you even might get a five or six once in awhile. Well, what about eight? There’s eight years between my sister and I. It’s definitely not a normal number when you’re talking about age gaps with siblings, but it’s not unheard of.  This eight year gap used to divide us, but now this number has no effect.

So if you haven’t thought about it yet, yes, I was an accident. Not saying they didn’t want me, but my sister Maddy for sure didn’t. Because of this difference in age, we were always on different planets when we were younger. While she was in the world of college apps and prom, I was prancing around the playground of Pleasant Ridge Elementary School.

I would say this age difference hurt our relationship when we were younger. We were mean to each other in different ways, ways the other either didn’t understand or got ridiculously annoyed with. Our immaturity levels lead us to physical fights, screaming matches and stealing each other’s things. All things siblings experience no matter the age difference, but we were unable to relate to one another, so it just created more conflict.

Eight years ago my parents made the decision to send me and my sister to sleep away camp with the hopes of bringing us a little closer and giving us something we could share. It backfired, to say the least. Every night I would cry and cry just wanting to go home. This would go on until she was forced to leave her campers and come calm me down. Instead of being a loving and kind sister, she was just mean. Typical.

As the summer went on, I decided to take matters into my own hands. One day while she wasn’t in her cabin I snuck in and stole her phone. It was a big no-no for campers to have phones, so when she found me sitting on her bunk trying to contact our mom you can imagine the fight we got into. Needless to say, I ended up loving camp, but my first summer will always be thought of as the four weeks Maddy and I wanted to kill each other.  

Even with the fighting and the constant attacks on one another, I looked up to her and still do. I thought of her as this amazing fashionista that I was always trying to impress and mimic. I stole her clothes, which didn’t really work out when you think about a lanky, awkward fifth grade girl trying to walk to school in a pair of tall, size 8 ½ boots.

When she won her senior class superlative of “Best Dressed”, I made it my fifth grade life mission to tell anyone that would listen. At the end of her senior year when she decided to go to University of Denver, I became a bigger Denver fan than she’s ever been. I was transparent with my obsession of her even though she was still pretty mean to me, but I can’t say I wasn’t terrible to her in retaliation.

All of this probably has made you think my sister and I hate each other. We really don’t and our friendship can definitely attest to that now. I used to be envious of all my friends with siblings close to their age, and in middle school I would be jealous of the ones who could hang out with their siblings all the time while mine was off at college.

But as we grew up, our relationship did too. It didn’t just magically get better, but with age and the distance between us we’ve learned to utilize the time we get to spend together. Whether that be by shopping, walking around the streets of NYC together or even just texting about boys, we genuinely enjoy each other’s company now. Well, I hope she enjoys mine.

I’m still pretty much obsessed with her so that hasn’t changed, but now instead of bragging about her superlative, I get to talk about all the other cool things about her. So next time I’m in New York City, just know I’ll be hanging out with my cool, OLDER sister.