Upbringing with older brothers leads to thick skin


Lucie Rutherford

Lucie Rutherford (middle) stands with her four older brothers on Thanksgiving of 2016.

Growing up, I never knew the true value of being the only girl and the youngest in the presence of four rowdy older brothers. Though I didn’t recognize its true value, I always enjoyed the attention. Despite being the small-sized human punching bag and the greatest source of all jokes, the lessons I learned from those experiences will stick with me for a lifetime.

For one, I learned to stand my ground in the face of whatever comes my way. I was hard-pressed to receive any kind of compliment from the three of them through the past 17 years of my life and was more often than not met with much criticism. Due to this lack of love, I have grown an impressively thick skin, not to mention the bank of comebacks I now have in my back pocket. I can confidently say I feel ready for anyone or any situation that tries to take me down.

Here’s a little anecdote I love to tell: It was a few years ago, circa age 12. My parents were out of the house that night, meaning my older brothers were my babysitters. I was in for a fun-filled night. The parental units hadn’t been gone very long before I found myself duct-taped from my shoulders to my knees. At this position I was completely unstable, and was able to be pushed over with the slightest push of the finger. Don’t fret, I was a pro at getting out of these kinds of situations.

This was my entertainment growing up. It was my own game of survival to get out of whatever trick they’d set up for me. In this case, I locked myself in the bathroom with a pair of scissors, and was able to barely move my hands, just enough to begin freeing myself from the metallic-colored tape. I remember walking out of that bathroom with pure triumph as I had defeated the wit of my older brothers.

Now that I’ve grown older, I’ve begun to really realize the life lessons that older siblings can give you, despite the hell they put you through at a young age. The memories that I have with them that I hold in the back of my mind have shaped the way I take compliments, the way I take joking and the way I hold myself among others. Rounding out my final year of high school, I have also found myself empty of this sibling-love. This feeling has made me reflect on those memories even more and appreciate the strong personality they have given me.

If you’re a person with older siblings, I’m sure it is rough most times, I promise it gets better. In 15 years from now, when you’re all out of the house and doing your own thing, you will find a bond that you never knew could even exist. For now, just bear with it.