Being the youngest of the family had its challenges as well as advantages. I really do think that the birth order determines personality traits to some extent. Having two older sisters to plow a path through our family was a definite advantage. Mom got all her ya yas out on my older sisters.
Big sis was the guinea pig. She truly bore the brunt of my Mom’s attempt at orchestrating our lives. Boy were there fireworks! Mom was a product of her generation. She married young; right after my Dad came back from WWII, and lived in my Grandparents home until after my big sis was born. Mom had very definite ideas about who we should be and how we should present ourselves to the outside world. Mid sis was the pleaser. She did all she could to make my parents happy and proud. And she did it with style and confidence. If truth be told, she is my Superhero, I really admire what she has done in her life.
Following my high achieving mid sis was a challenge. I decided early that I was not going to play because I couldn’t live up to the parental expectations. Notice I did not say overachieving. This is because my wonderful mid sis just lived up to her potential. How many of us actually do that? Not me. While I was busy being social and playing with horses and more importantly boys, she was busy building a foundation for a life time of successes. At 4 years older than me, I started high school as she finished…Salutatorian I might add. Don’t get me wrong, I was not a bad student, but I had better things to do than study. I remember my English teacher, who called me by an unattractive ethnic name, asked me why I wasn’t more like my sister. What an ass. But I have gotten off track.
I will never forget the day she took me to walk the school. I missed orientation because the family went to the beach for vacation. Boy was I scared, but she made the time to introduce me to my teachers, make sure I knew where my locker was, how to get lunch; all the important things. I felt really important walking around with her. This wasn’t the first time she made me feel really special.
My parents went out of town one weekend. Mid sis was a senior, or recently graduated, high school and I was the pain in the neck little sister. Except that weekend she didn’t treat me like one. Late Saturday evening her boyfriend wanted to go out. So I got to go with them. I don’t remember all the detail but I do remember driving around our little town in the back of his MG as we stopped to pick up other classmates of theirs. THEN the group, me included, went back to boyfriend’s house and made pancakes. We didn’t get home until after one in the morning. It is an evening I will never forget. Instead of making me feel like an unwanted wart, she made me part of the group. And you know, to this day, more than 40 years later, she still does that. She is without a doubt, the nicest person in our family.
Mid sis has always been the one I turned to for really gut wrenching advice. She can be objective and I know she is only thinking of what will be best for me or my family. I wonder how things would have gone differently if she had stayed physically closer. She moved away from home early in her marriage. First to the West Coast and then down to South Florida. It is just the two of us now. We aren’t the same, but we will cling to each other with the fierceness of two women that have a relationship grounded in love and admiration.