The Baby

May 17, 2014
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Sitting in the chair at the orthodontist, palms sweating and mind racing, was not how I wanted to spend the gorgeous summer day. Not to mention it was my birthday. I had always imagined that the summer before my freshman year of high school I would completely transform into an older looking mature young woman. But in reality, I would be walking into the first day of school with shiny new braces. While my teeth were being poked and prodded all I could think about was how awful and childish I was going to look. The taste of the disgusting glue Dr. Remington placed on my teeth contributed even more to my misery. Sure I was thrilled that in 18-24 months I would have the perfect smile, but as I was getting my braces on all my friends were getting theirs off; it was not fair. Unfortunately, my parents had to send my two sisters to college back to back and that was their first priority. My smile was the least of their worries.

It was always a struggle, however, to escape being known as the youngest chid. My freshmen year math class consisted of my teacher constantly calling me by my sister’s name. As attendance is being taken on the first day of school I patiently await for my name to be called. My math teacher announces, “Jamie” and I reply with a simple “Here.” A few seconds later she asks “Are you Haley’s little sister? Wow there’s another one!” That was only the beginning; as the year went on every time I spoke she exclaimed “Wow you sound just like Haley, it’s scary!” I cannot even begin to count how many times I have heard that comment.

The upside to being the youngest is that I am not the guinea pig, like my oldest sister. My parents have already experienced raising two other daughters, so with me they aren’t completely clueless. My mom was a mess sending my sister off to college. My sister’s whole junior year consisted of meetings with her guidance counselor, college visits, and my mom, frustrated and flustered, trying to figure out how to fill out financial aid forms. For my recent junior planning meeting, my guidance counselor asked my parents if they had any questions about the process and financial aid as well and my mom confidently answered “Nope I have it all down from the other two.” Watching my sisters grow up and go through high school allowed me to learn from them immensely. At STEP the summer before freshman year I knew my way around Morgan so well while my fellow incoming freshman had no idea where they were going. “How do you know where everything is” is a question I was often asked. I felt special and more confident going into high school.

“You’ll always be the baby” is a phrase I’ve heard growing up way too often. Being the youngest of three girls I’ve learned what it’s like to be “the baby” of the family. Being looked at in this way was both comforting but aggravating at the same time. I’m not always going to get what I want right away but I have become so much more independent and confident passing through stages in my life. Through my experiences I have learned that the title of “the baby” is inescapable no matter how old I get. It will always be a part of me and I have come to embrace it, as well as resent it.

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