Baby of the Family Blues

Today is apparently National Siblings Day. In honor of that, here is a re-post from February 2017. 

little kids

I am the youngest of three children. That’s right, I’m the “baby” as my mother would tell people well into my adult years. Stereotyped by older siblings as spoiled and immature, there are definitely perks to being the youngest. Our parents have been “broken in” by the first few kids. By the time we come along, they have seen it all and their energy has been diminished if not depleted entirely. This can be a good thing, especially if one of your older siblings had delinquent tendencies – you are allowed to skate by with moderately good behavior.

Before you get too envious of us, you should know that it is not all daisies and rainbows. On the contrary, the harassment we endured made us dream of having a baby brother or sister to take the brunt of the sibling tyranny, or better yet, the imagined paradise of only childhood.

Decades later, you can still see remnants of our trauma. Here are five ways that you can tell that someone is the youngest child.

  1. We flinch. A lot.
    My brother is nearly five years older than me, so he had a distinct physical advantage over me. I talked about some of his tormenting in this post. He specialized in Indian burns (sorry – still haven’t found the politically correct term for these), and grabbing my wrists to slap me with my own hands. Continue reading
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Waiting for the Scab

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I have always been the unofficial historian of my family. As a child I would spend hours going through the big cardboard box of photos. I’d memorize the faces and the events that were captured on film long before I was born. Mom would tell stories and explain who each person was and how we were related. I listened intently and committed it all to memory.

Not surprisingly, since the death of my Dad, and less than two months later my Mom, my role as the archivist for our clan has become somewhat more official.

I am now the keeper of the cardboard box, along with the photo albums depicting my youth, and that of my parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents before me. These treasures currently sit in a large plastic tub in the corner of our spare bedroom. Continue reading

Baby of the Family Blues

Re-posted for The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Baby (February 24, 2017).

little kids

I am the youngest of three children. That’s right, I’m the “baby” as my mother would tell people well into my adult years. Stereotyped by older siblings as spoiled and immature, there are definitely perks to being the youngest. Our parents have been “broken in” by the first few kids. By the time we come along, they have seen it all and their energy has been diminished if not depleted entirely. This can be a good thing, especially if one of your older siblings had delinquent tendencies – you are allowed to skate by with moderately good behavior.

Before you get too envious of us, you should know that it is not all daisies and rainbows. On the contrary, the harassment we endured made us dream of having a baby brother or sister to take the brunt of the sibling tyranny, or better yet, the imagined paradise of only childhood.

Decades later, you can still see remnants of our trauma. Here are five ways that you can tell that someone is the youngest child.

  1. We flinch. A lot.
    My brother is nearly five years older than me, so he had a distinct physical advantage over me. I talked about some of his tormenting in this post. He specialized in Indian burns (sorry – still haven’t found the politically correct term for these), and grabbing my wrists to slap me with my own hands. Continue reading

Grief Takes the Holidays

Mom & Dad Wedding_0001
September 8, 1951

In 64 years of marriage, my parents spent only one Christmas apart. It was 1952 and my Dad was a United States Marine in Korea. They apparently didn’t want to repeat that experience. After Dad passed away suddenly on October 26, mom followed him just 51 days later on December 17. Continue reading

Life is not what we envision that it should be. Adjust.

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I’ve had this page from a daily calendar hanging on my bulletin board for more than 10 years. I first put it up at work, probably in response to the complaining of a coworker, or maybe as a reminder to myself to breathe deep and not let the little things get to me. At some point it migrated to my home and now lives in my kitchen with other odds and ends.

“Life is not what we envision that it should be. Adjust.”

The past several weeks I have had to heed this advice like never before. Fifteen days ago, my father passed away. Continue reading