One day, when I was just a very young boy, my mother asked my preference about THE upcoming event i.e. “would I prefer a little brother or sister”? My honest response was “neither, I want a dog”!
I was the oldest of the litter, and there were 4 of us by the time I was six. My parents eventually deposited 2 additional mouths around the kitchen table totaling a family of eight.
I honestly admit my self-centeredness, believing deep-down that I was actually an only child despite the reality of a shared bedroom with 2 brothers, one bathroom for 8 people and trying desperately to somehow understand why all these aliens keep appearing in my life, demanding my attention, and all I want is from them is to stop gnawing on my Army men.
Sibling relationships are complex, and birth order does complicate matters. Despite all of the childhood drama I am often amazed as to how we became very close, with none of the smoldering embers that eventually ignite to destroy relationships in other families.
These issues are never so evident as what I now observe with my 5 grandgirls.
My youngest, one of the Southern Belles, turns one year old today. She is so close in age to her sororal-twin sisters, and a little bigger and more active than most her age, she is often thought to be a triplet when people see them together.
The twins know better.
Grandgirl 5 wants so badly to “fit in” and excited just to be with them. She doesn’t utter a protest when they confiscate her toys or push her aside when they are playing together and she is just a little too curious and wants to be involved. She remains a sweet happy little girl.
In all fairness to her two oldest sisters, they are also so sweet with many moments of kindness and caring to their clinger-on, but overall she is a third wheel.
Dear number 5, have a Happy Birthday. Enjoy your special day and have fun opening the presents we sent to you.
With any luck you’ll be able to play with the toys we mailed, and get to eat a piece of birthday cake.
But hurry before the twins swoop in and take it.