Being the youngest: What I wasn’t prepared for

Lily Taylor

My three brothers and I when we were younger.


“You’re so annoying! I cannot wait until you move out and I have the house to myself!” 

Boy, was I wrong. 

When I tell people I am the youngest and only have brothers, the first response is usually, “Wow! Only girl and the youngest?! You must be so spoiled.” Being the youngest, everyone thinks I get whatever I want all the time. Although this can be true, being the youngest you are also forced to grow up faster than your other siblings. You are the one holding onto family traditions. You watch your siblings grow up and have their own lives and even though you were there for their whole childhood, they were only there for a portion of yours.  

I am the youngest of three older brothers. The oldest two, Jack and Hayden, are twins, and are 22 years old. My other brother, Charlie, is 19. When I was younger, I could not wait to grow up. I counted down the years until I would finally be old enough to drive, hang out with my friends every weekend, and have the independence I always wanted. I even looked forward to the day when my brothers moved out of the house. I was excited to be the only kid at home and have the house to myself. What I did not realize was how different things would be the older I got. 

For those who celebrate, Christmas is one of the most magical and exciting times. Growing up, I always looked forward to Christmas and it was my favorite holiday. I loved the time spent with my family and our Christmas traditions. But overtime, I realized that every year Christmas felt a little different. I felt like I was the only one holding onto the traditions we once all used to love.  Growing up, my brothers and I would all sleep on the floor of the same room together on Christmas Eve. We would stay up until two in the morning and peek out of the room and look down the stairs to see if Santa had come. Christmas morning, we would all wake each other up and run downstairs to go open the presents.  

In recent years, it feels as though I am the only person who wants to do these traditions. Now, I understand that now they are in their twenties, my brothers probably don’t want to sleep on the floor with their younger sister. But, Christmas has changed in more ways than just our sleeping arrangements. I am the only kid that helps decorate the tree. I am also the only one who wants to make Christmas cookies, watch Christmas movies, and do our other Christmas traditions. Now that my brothers are older and two of them have girlfriends, that has also changed our Christmas dynamic. We now plan our Christmas around when my brothers will be home and not with their girlfriends and their families. I am not saying I do not want my brothers’ girlfriends to be with us, however I would be lying if I said it doesn’t suck being the only kid at home on Christmas Eve. 

This is the case for many other youngest siblings. Josie Kuyers, the youngest of three kids said, “Christmas doesn’t excite me now that my siblings don’t find it as enjoyable as they used to. They are no longer excited to wake up early and open presents. It’s sad to see them growing up while I still seem so young.” Similarly TikTok and TikTok comments show how lonely being the youngest can be. A TikTok posted by “lolabellla” says, “It’s not talked enough about how hard Christmas can feel when you grow up. Being the youngest but your siblings, moved out, family members are no longer with us and traditions fizzle out and you start to feel more and more alone.” Comments on this TikTok agreed saying things like, ““The youngest is forced to grow up faster than the rest because they’ve all grown out of the childhood traditions.” user, jaxc0_0. This is exactly how the past Christmas felt for me. 

Christmas is not the only thing that has changed. Every year after Thanksgiving dinner, my family and I would sit down and watch the movie Elf.  For as long as I can remember my family all looked forward to this tradition. But, each year my brothers became less and less interested. I would have to drag them upstairs to watch it with me. This past Thanksgiving, my mom and I were the only ones watching it. 

Other holidays like Easter and Valentine’s Day have also changed. When my brothers were my age they still got Easter baskets and my parents would give each of us something small on Valentines Day. Now, that basically everyone is grown up, the Easter baskets and small chocolates on Valentines Day have stopped. Obviously these are very superficial things to be missing, but I cannot help but realize my brothers got these things and had a younger sibling to share the excitement of holidays with until they moved out. These things stopped for me at the same time they stopped for them, even though I was much younger. It is not the Easter baskets and candy I am missing, it’s the excitement of the holidays. 

Family vacations are different now that my brothers have grown up. When I was younger, my brothers and I would spend hours together on vacation. Whether playing at the pool or jumping in the waves all day, we would always be playing games or hanging out in the sun. As the years passed, they wanted to spend less time outside all day and more time going out and meeting people. Now that I am older, I understand the desire to go out and make memories on vacation, but at the time I couldn’t help but wonder why I was not enough to hangout with. 

I know that change is inevitable and this is the way that life goes. My brothers and my parents do not mean to make me feel this way, this is just how being the youngest goes. People grow up, things change, and everything will not be the way it once was. Change can even be a good thing. Eventually all of us will grow up and have new memories to share with one another. But for now, it really sucks.