Tag Archives: Siblings

My Protective Nerve

It was 11 days after my third birthday when my parents brought my brother home from the hospital. I don’t remember much but I know I wasn’t too fond of him at first. My parents got divorced when he was two and I was five. I assumed the role as more protective big sister immediately. Whether we knew it or not, we navigated the newness of our lives together. We fought often; to many, we probably didn’t look like we cared about each other at all. Yet, I knew early on my job was to protect him, despite him being bigger than me for the last 15 years. I can mess with my brother, but no one else can.

Fast forward a decade plus, our babies showed up to change our worlds forever. D.J. assumed the role as big brother naturally and I felt the pang of my protective nerve growing tenfold. They’re spoiled and they know it. There’s nothing in the world I wouldn’t do for all three of them. Have I crossed a line? Probably! Do I care? A little and now that everyone’s older, I’m able to communicate that to them. They get it, they’re grateful and truth is, we all protect each other. 

As you can see, I am fiercely protective of the people I care for. It started with D.J., heightened with Samantha and Antonio and now as a manager, it’s exploded a little. 

I see part of my role as manager to protect my team from unnecessary stress, to filter only relevant information to them and to play defense for them. I invade personal space sometimes to make sure everyone’s taking care of themselves. I wear this protective nerve of mine like a cape, proudly on display. If you come within a mile of me, you know this is how I roll. 

Time and time again though, it’s become a challenge to manage because…

  1. I get so obsessed with protecting someone from themselves that I essentially forget to take care of myself in the process. While I’ve made great progress here, there are still times that I end up so emotionally depleted that I can’t help anyone. 
  2. At work, I dodge bullets for my team. Sometimes that’s necessary. Other times it prevents team members from stepping up and experiencing a challenge themselves. Also, I’m not an actual superhero, no one gets through it alone. I’m learning when and what to delegate to others.

I’ve noticed this protective nerve more and more lately. Maybe it’s because I’m managing more people or maybe I’m just more conscious of it. Either way, it’s good awareness to have. When something hits my protective nerve, I’ve started to: 

  1. Hit the pause button and think about why I’m reacting this way. Why did this specific situation hit the protective nerve? What about this is the same or different from other situations I’ve worked through in the past? Pausing before reacting is usually the smartest move for me AND I’ve learned that I need to communicate this pause to everyone involved so they know what’s going on.
  2. Then, I articulate why I reacted a certain way. Depending on the situation, I call it out immediately, almost like “Tag, you’re it!” In other instances, I’ll wait until the situation is defused to explain. Regardless of if it happens in a personal or professional context, I always ask myself and others, how could I have handled the situation differently and/or more effectively.

Being protective comes natural to me. Often, it proves to be helpful and people respect me for it. As with anything else, awareness is key. When in doubt, I blame my parents for making me the oldest 😉 I’m kidding! I’m exactly who I need to be.

Big Sister, Big Responsibilities

sam babyOver the weekend, we celebrated my sister’s 11th birthday. She is one of the three younger siblings I have and is at a very impressionable age. Both her and my nine-year old brother pay close attention to my actions. For example, they are Temple obsessed as that was their first encounter with a university. Since our age difference is so large, things they see me doing they think they can do too. No Samantha, you cannot shop at Forever 21 just because I do.

Maybe it’s me or maybe it’s because there are so many years between us, but I feel a certain responsibility to my younger siblings, especially my sister. That’s probably a girl thing since we are already sharing clothes. From the minute she was born, I felt the need to protect her, guide her and be there for her. This role as big sister to a little girl has proven both rewarding and challenging at times.

I was thirteen when my sister was born. I instantly became a pro at changing diapers, making bottles and finding the Elmo DVD to calm her down. That’s the great part about being so much older: I had the opportunity to help and learn how to take care of a baby. While the day-to-day tasks proved to be a great learning experience, having a little sister has taught me how to mentor and have more intentional conversations. My sister has such a big personality and a mind of her own, which is awesome. However, reasoning with her and helping her to see the big picture is tricky. The older she has gotten, the more we talk about real life situations like losing friends or schoolwork. I absolutely love being able to have these conversations with her but learned to approach them with caution. My words are like the Bible to her; she takes things literally. It has taught me to be very intentional with my words and actions.

The challenge to being a big sister is that I based my decisions around their happiness, not my own. While sisterthis isn’t always true, it definitely has happened. If I skip yoga, I can pick Samantha up from dance and take her for a manicure before Antonio’s hockey game. With the prospect of moving out becoming real, I’m not sure how I’m going to live more than 30 minutes away from these kids. Then I remember how I went to college, how I still saw them, went to hockey games and the list goes on. Going to college left such an impression on them. I hope is so does moving out, having my own apartment and a good job. I still struggle with the need to be there all the time but the greatest lesson I can teach them is to find your own happiness, to live your own life.

Do you have younger siblings? What kind of impact have they made on your life?

Family Fridays: The Sunshine of My Life

Nine years ago today, a little boy with the sweetest smile was born. He stole my heart from the minute he wrapped his little finger around mine. Now, as a boy not a baby, he still is the most loving little man I’ve ever met.

Antonio1Maybe I’m biased, but how could you not fall in the love with the face you see to the left. That is Antonio, with his wild child hair and larger than life smile. He was about three in that picture but is still the same. Ask anyone who has met him even for a second and they will tell you how sweet and lovable he is. It’s true he’s a bit rougher than when he was younger. But, I still get hugs and cuddle time. He promises me that he will always hug and kiss me, even when he’s a “big boy.” I hope to the high heavens he will.

By now it’s clear how much I love my siblings. But, I’m not sure it’s clear how much they love me. Antonio loves me when I’m with him, when I’m gone, when I’m unhappy and even when I’m mad. He loves because I’m his big sister, not because I have a great job, or because I’m a good listener. He loves me just because. There isn’t any pressure to show up, to act a certain way or to be anyone but me. Spending time with him is the best stress reliever and lets me be a kid all over again.

I can’t believe my little man is nine years old today. Time certainly flies just a bit too fast. But, I have such an amazing relationship with Antonio that I kind of comfortable with him growing up. Whenever I need a laugh or want to shoot some hoops, I can count on Antonio. He truly is the sunshine of my life. Happy Birthday baby boy!

2

The Most Important Job

When you hear the word job, you probably think of a profession or career. You relate the word to what you studied in college and how you earn money. But there’s a lot of other really important jobs in my life that have nothing to do with money.

I have a job as a daughter, sister, niece, cousin and friend. Those roles are much more important to me than my career. Don’t get me wrong, having a successful career is important but being a big sister is my favorite and most important job. Lucky for me, this position didn’t require an intense job search.

I have three younger siblings: DJ who is 19, Samantha who is 9 and Antonio who is 8. I love my brother DJ but this post is more about Samantha and Antonio. When both of these rugrats were born, I was beyond ecstatic and thought I’d teach them everything. While I’d like to think I’ve taught them a few things, in the short time they’ve been around, I have learned so much from both of them.

Samantha has a big personality: she will give you her opinion and ask all sorts of questions. You can tell from one conversation with her that she’s wise beyond her years. At almost ten, Sam walks to the beat of her own drum and usually doesn’t care what anyone says. It’s something I admire in my baby sister and know she’s going to run the world one day. Antonio is the most lovable little boy, always there with an encouraging hug or smile. He tells me he’ll give me hugs and kisses even when he’s a grown-up; I can only hope that’s true. With Samantha and Antonio, I don’t have to be a Rockstar, I’m just their big sister Alex. I don’t have to make Dean’s List or have an amazing job; I can just be. In their eyes, I’m a Rockstar just because I spend time with them and that to me is the greatest gift they’ve given me.

One day while scrolling through Pinterest, I found a tattoo of fingerprints in the shape of a heart. I instantly fell in love and knew it would be the perfect tattoo for Samantha and Antonio. People wondered why I’d get my little siblings’ fingerprints as a tattoo. Wouldn’t I do that with my children? It’s true, they aren’t my kids, but they feel like it, probably because of the age gap. There’s not a thing in the world I wouldn’t do for either of them. They both have changed my life in so many positive ways and are my main motivation for achieving success. I got the tattoo this past Tuesday and have fallen more in love with it each day.

My new tattoo serves as a reminder of the importance of my job as big sister. I have four eyes and ears on me at all times, watching my actions and listening to my words. I also have two people who don’t judge me and love me unconditionally. Sure, we fight like all siblings do but there’s nothing that can come between us. I hope in the years to come my relationship will only get stronger with Samantha and Antonio. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these guys and am so lucky to be a part of it.

jeetphiladelphia.wordpress.com/

Exploring Philly's international food scene, one cuisine at a time

Of Undisputed Origin

Life Advice from Brilliant Minds

Filter Me, Please!

Ramblings of a Chronically Ill Chick

ChickpeaCards

Handcrafted custom made paper goods

Chit Chat Tracker

Keeping You In Touch, One Story At A Time!

Pint-sized Girl in the Big World

Daily musings from across the pond

Kerry Patricia Creations

Film. Photography. Life.

The Official Blog of PPRA

Inspiring Excellence in Public Relations

today was meaningful

thoughts, life lessons, and days full of meaning.

United We Eat

all for the love of food

Temple PRSSA

The Temple University Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America

Jade & The City

Dreaming & scheming my way through the city

Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog is a digital youth culture magazine dedicated to your stories and ideas.

Social is a Lifestyle

Love what you do. Do what you love.

Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

PRactical Politics

A place to share my opinions and thoughts about all things public relations & politics. Look out for the occasional travel post as well!

One Guy's Journey

A Hub of Growth, Learning, and Evolution in the World of Communications and Public Relations

Bake Sales and Boot Camp

Surviving one cupcake at a time!