But it’s all about what happens after the journey, however taxing, that really matters. It doesn’t matter how long ago you left home, once over that threshold something happens and we all regress back to being teenagers. It doesn’t matter what you are in the outside world, in this house you’re still [insert embarrassing family nickname here]. Some of the Squeamish writers share their place in the family home…
Sometimes people are surprised to discover I am not an only child. Apparently I have issues with things like attention and sharing.
Despite these issues, I am the eldest of two sisters. At first I was deeply scarred by my sister's arrival - I burst into tears at the news and asked if it was because I wasn't good enough – but eventually I learned to live with her. I say eventually – it took until she was 21. But hey, whatevs. We're tight now and that's what counts.
We fought like dogs growing up. I locked her in the basement, so she chased me around the kitchen with knives. I strung up her knickers like bunting, she snapped all my cigarettes in half before putting the pack carefully back in its hiding place.
I hated her for being a tag-along, a snitch, an annoying presence who demanded my attention when I was trying to impress boys, or cool kids, or just hang out on my own reading a book. She hated me for ignoring her, for over-achieving at everything so there was no room left for her.
But I left home at 15 (boarding school FTW!), and we ended up spending our formative years on different continents. When time rolled around for her to go to uni, we found ourselves on opposite ends of the same country. For the first time in either of our lives, we had somewhere to run away to when life was getting too much.
And now? We’re both vagabonds, wanderers. But wherever we are in the world, no matter what kind of crazy messes we get into, we know that home is only a plane ride away. And that it’s got nothing to do with our parents.
I’m the younger of 2 girls. My sister went away to ballet school so from 8 onwards I was also a term time only child.
As we have got older our roles in the family have changed. But I’m still her little sister. We called her my second mother from very early on, my sister decided what was ‘character building’ for me. She refused to accompany me to the loos in restaurants and she let me learn the hard way about breaking the seal. As the older one my sister seems to naturally have a more practical grasp on cooking and general grown up stuff.
I was very naughty as a child, like expulsion naughty, so I think my sister would say our parents didn’t treat us the same as small children. I think they did, it was other adults who didn’t. My sister was a ballerina, where she was graceful I was borderline dyspraxic. This didn’t stop people sincerely asking when I’d attend ballet school. After my sister left for boarding school, we moved over 100 miles away (she still found us) to a new city so she was no longer part of my identity.
Although we’re both of the Arty persuasion we aren’t good at the same things. I think we’re pretty lucky that we don’t look similar; I think we both think the other got the best deal phenotype-wise.
Now we’re all grown up I’ve taken on the role of The Tattler. To be honest I think this should be called The Diffuser. I only tattle when one member of the family is pissing another off and it’s a misunderstanding. A totally valuable attribute during The Season.