M.C.S – Middle Child Syndrome
Gosh that makes it sound like some sort of ailment.I saw all these posts last week about it being “Middle Child Day” and the big punchline is that it gets overlooked just like Middle Children do. That isn’t true. Being a Middle didn’t make me invisible. It made me into something better. It’s basically my superpower. I am a middle child and I am proud of it. I have the extraordinary pleasure of being in between 2 brothers. We are each 3-4 years apart. And each one of us embody a completely different point on the personality spectrum, from the quiet and reserved (older) to the outspoken and flamboyant (younger). Ironically I fall right in the middle of that spectrum. Weird, right? Well I learned that being quiet all the time would get you overlooked when it matters, like making friends and being social. I also learned that being the center of attention made it more difficult to go about your business undisturbed. I am the physical embodiment of middle ground. I am the peacekeeper. The problem solver. The strategist. I can find a solution to just about any problem and I can do it quickly and easily under pressure.
The Older was doted on. He’s the first-born. The First EVERYTHING. The parental units probably went all out. Bought the best of everything. They probably gave him all of their attention. The poor kid probably never got to eat paste. And then I came came along. The second born. By then they had learned that I would be fine if I ate paste, because the older one had survived. I was given much more freedom to roam and explore. I was able to learn from an older example while finding my own spot in the world. My parents were usually busy with Older and his school and activities that I was able to develop an immense imagination and learn to become a extraordinary problem solver.
Then the Baby came along. The last born. The last time my mom would get those little chubby cheeks and all those other baby traits. She relished in them. So Older had school and activities. At this point I had school. Baby had Mom all to himself. I wasn’t ignored by any means. M parents went to my plays and soccer games. They never forgot me anywhere….that I’m aware of. But they were also busy enjoying the last baby moments they would have. First steps, first words, all those milestones. And I was able to explore the world around me, often with Older as my playmate.
You see, being in the middle prepared me for the adult world. Better than being the first born or the baby I think. I know when I should speak up, like when something is important or dire. And I know when to stand in the shadows and let someone else have the spotlight. I was able to use my imagination to no end, allowing my brain to work in ways that make me efficient and resourceful, because, let’s face it….when you’re the Middle, there are hand me downs and broken things. Being the Middle also taught me to work quickly, for fear of a sibling tantrum or a parental discovery if I was doing something bad, WHICH I WOULD NEVER DO!!! Being a Middle gave me a superpower. I am a watcher. When I enter new situations, I watch. I get a feel for the situation and the people around me. This is a trait of being a Middle. I want to know the people I’m surrounded by. The Baby, he just throws himself into the melee and hopes for the best. Older? He prefers to remain on the sidelines 99% of the time. Being a Middle taught me to assess situations and people. I am calculating, I am careful, but I still manage to have some fun! As a Middle, I have an extremely calm way of dealing with most problems, so stress isn’t really an issue for me. I don’t suffer from Identity Issues, like many people seem to think Middles do. I know exactly who I am.
Being a Middle also taught me survival. Every injury Bean gets is an emergency in her eyes. I’ve had broken bones and not even given a whimper. Being a Middle with 2 brothers taught me how to deal with pain. I am a girl who can throw an impressive right hook. I attribute that to Older. We were teenagers at the same time and forced to share a phone line back when phones plugged into the wall. It wasn’t pretty. But my reflexes are quick because of it, giving me the chance to prevent injuries to myself or Bean. I learned that not all of my problems were dire and most I could fix on my own. i learned to go to my parents with the really big problems. So when I did come to them, they knew it was a big deal.
When I was 5 and Older was 8 he walked me into my first day of school. And I wasn’t scared. If he could survive, I knew I would be just fine. And as our mom watched us walk away hand in hand(*tear-sniff-sniff) she noticed that I didn’t look back once. And she realized that I would be the child to venture furthest from the nest. I would be the brave child who would survive out in the world with ease. I was already a Middle by then. And she was right. I went to college at the other end of the state. I moved as far away as I could while remaining in the Lower 48. And I survived. I flourished even. I went through life experiences that might’ve sent others home to the nest, but i remained where I was and got myself back on my own 2 feet.
I’m proud to be a Middle. I’m lucky to be a Middle. People think that Middles get the short end of the stick, but what we really do is use our imaginations and make something really cool out of the stick. My parents did me a favor by making me a Middle