I was the second born in a family of three girls. This, of course, made me the dreaded “middle child”. From experience and observing other families I can say the problems of the middle child seem to be true.
The first child in our family was my sister, Kathy. She was born four years before me. She was the first child, grandchild, and niece. She seemed to be the favorite of everyone from my standpoint. Then I came along. I was told that since my parents already had a girl it would have been nice to have a boy. Oh well, it didn’t turn out that way, but they adjusted. I remember our home life being normal and pleasant. My dad was in the service and I was two days old when he was deployed. So, having no males around I didn’t like them very much. I have been told that later in life I made up for that! Whatever that means!!! Then it happened, another girl was born into our family five years later. This now made me a middle child.
This is where a lot of memories are remembered by me. I was a handful. We lived at that time just one block from downtown. I did things prior to the age of five such as wandering downtown to be found after a frantic search by my mother riding a tricycle in a hardware store. Then another time I was concerned that when our dog ran away he would get lost so I went with him. This resulted in the usual spanking and my being sent to bed. It got so bad as I am told that when I wanted to play outside I was put on a leash and tied to the railing. This generated a lot of teasing and taunting by my older sister and her friends. Another time when my mom was taking care of the baby I put on a bunch of dressy clothes including a hat, high heels, long dress, and proceeded to walk around the block. This was also in the middle of winter causing my poor mother another day of panic.
As I grew up, yes I actually made it to my teens without any major mishaps, I made my presence known by having boys over after my parents went to their part-time jobs on Friday nights and my older sister, now in high school, would go to the football game. We would smoke and have a great time. I was supposed to be babysitting my little sister, but she often got in the way so we would send her to her room. One time this resulted in having to eventually get a ladder to get her out as when you shut the door it locked and you couldn’t open it., I might add that she and the dog were both locked in there.
I didn’t take the restrictions very well. It seemed to me that my sisters could do anything that they wanted and I was the one who was always in trouble and was prevented from doing the things I wanted to do. This didn’t stop me as I would eventually figure out a way around those times by creating stories of what I was actually going to do (in other words, I lied).
I referred to my older sister, Kathy, as the queen of the family. Judy, my youngest sister was the princess, and me as “the frog”. I remember one time while in grade school, Judy was probably in kindergarten and we were at the athletic field for school. I overheard the teachers saying, “That is Judy, Sandy’s younger sister. She is the cute one.” Well, that didn’t sit well so I decided to fix that. From that point on I told Judy she had big ears and scabby eyes, thus causing I am sure many years of therapy and an inferiority complex for the rest of her life.
My older sister would constantly put me down, always comparing the two of us. She left Judy out of this because she was “the cute one”. She would love to throw big words at me and I retaliated by using the worst swear words I knew and would shock the shit out of her. Ahh, success. Kathy took her looks and fashion to the highest degree. I swear she would go to church just to show off her outfit which consisted of a large picture hat, fashionable dress, gloves, and very high-heeled shoes. This drove me crazy. So for one, I looked ridiculous in hats so I would wear a little chapel veil; and two, I would dress down just to humiliate her. She eventually refused to go to church with me. It wasn’t until she went off to college that I spent quality time with Kathy. She took me to the movie South Pacific on a big screen, let me stay with her in her dorm, and actually included me in some of her events. This was really special to me as I really adored her and thought she was actually gorgeous but trust me, I never shared this with her.
My mom stated that while growing up she had always said that if she would ever have a girl that little girl would benefit from everything my mom did not have. See, she was born during the depression and had five siblings. My grandpa was killed by falling off of a building, and my grandma was a single mom. So, mom kept her promise to herself and Kathy was the beneficiary of this dream. Unfortunately, she had two more girls after that and I was the one that got all the hand-me-downs. Kathy did not like to share her clothes, but that didn’t stop me. She left for school before me so I would get ready for school, plan what beautiful outfit of Kathy’s that I was going to wear, would say I had to go to the bathroom and change into one of her outfits. I always got busted. I could never figure out how she knew I had worn her clothes that day but she did and I had hell to pay.
I actually interacted a lot more often with my younger sister, Judy. We played with paper dolls, played outside together, and actually ended up sharing a bedroom together after I got kicked out of my older sister’s bedroom. We seemed to have a lot of the same interests even though we were further apart in age than I was with my older sister. My older sister was busy with her friends and then found out while she was in nursing school that she had MS and eventually passed away when she was just twenty-six years old. When I graduated from high school Judy became my sidekick and we did a lot of things together such as shopping, just hanging out, planning for big events, and having fun together.
I guess being a middle child has its challenges and I certainly lived up to mine. The benefit of this placement is usually having someone to play or just be with. I never liked to be alone and enjoyed chaos and lots of activity.
I always wanted three children so there would be someone always around for the other child. Life just didn’t pan out that way and as I look back it probably saved me a lot of hysteria. I have one particular grandson who I can really identify with. He is, of course, a middle child. He thinks like me, and after being kicked out of three daycares, I can definitely see a pattern here.
I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love being a middle child, loved my sisters, and enjoyed my journey. It certainly makes for some fun memories and good stories.
God bless all middle children.