Friday, March 13, 2009

Middle Child

Reading has always been one of my favorite pastimes, so I've gathered a lot of seemingly useless information. Many of them stick in my head and pop back out at odd moments. I was just sitting here remembering something I read years ago. People can often use nightly news programs to demonstrate the different tendencies children manifest due to their birth orders. That sounds absurd at first glance, but it made sense in the article. 

The anchor or interviewer was generally a middle child. They would ask the questions, get the facts. They would try to keep everything in order and make sure that fairness was observed. (Obviously they didn't work for today's NBC.) The person being interviewed was most often an oldest child, the leader of the pack. They blazed trails, made the news, set the limits. It was their position that rated the most coverage in any conversation. The weatherman was the baby of the family. Can you spell "comic relief?" I thought you could. 

I was the middle child. Worse than that, I was the second middle child. Or maybe I was the only middle child, and my sister Ellen was the second oldest child. I guess that would be more true, as she was the oldest daughter. She was also the first child Dad got to know as a baby, since he was off in World War II when Pat was born. So that's it. I was the only middle child, and Kenny was the baby. I can be forgiven for trying to flush him down the toilet. I didn't understand comic relief.

I understood fairness, and it didn't seem fair that everybody who used to run in and look at me suddenly went running in to look at him. He wasn't that cute. I really was in the middle. Ellen was seventeen months older than me. Kenny was seventeen months younger than me. Ellen was beautiful. Kenny was cute. I turned into a great student.

So if you're a middle child, I'll bet you've learned to do a lot of things. Maybe you play a couple of instruments, like the guitar and accordion. Those are fun. Perhaps you like to craft. Crochet and knitting are fun and handy. Leather tooling and bead work are also really cool. You could have been up there in the top of your class. Maybe not—I got a B once. (Stupid teacher.) But however you handled being in the middle, I'll bet you had some fun—probably more than the others.

2 comments:

Ri said...

I'm a middle child, 4th out of six and in between 2 sisters . . . but could never fully identify what that meant. Perhaps I'm the news reporter, not the drama queen and not the creative one . . . the dull talent-less one?

Kathleen said...

Ri—
No one who knows you would ever think of dull or talent-less. You sparkle. Ask your kids what your talent is. You make fun, your spread love. Look at the costumes you've made for your kids. You sew. Taste your own food, for heaven's sake. Goodness. I know you well enough that I know you're not fishing for compliments. And you're creative, all right. You've created a home that's filled with all the right stuff. Ask your John.