Thursday, August 27, 2020

The Journey Begins: a Middle Child Memory

          Remember when this meme went viral? I do. I even wrote about it in a previous post. But like I’ve always said, my experience was different. I didn’t realize what it meant to be a Middle Child the moment I met my baby sister. It wasn’t until many years later that I fully understood, thanks in large part to a poem my mother had taped to a wall in the kitchen. I also wrote about that. Twice. No, my memory of the day my parents brought my sister home from the hospital is very different, and still so clear in my mind, even after all these years. Here’s what I recall. 
          It was a sunny September day. My older brother and I were playing outside waiting for my father to bring our mother and new baby sister home. The car pulled into the driveway, my mother got out, and what happened next is a moment that I will always remember.
          I GOT A FIRE TRUCK!
          I think my brother got a bicycle, but who cares? I got a fire truck! And not some Tonka sized toy, either, but one I could actually sit in and ride!! What a brilliant move by my parents. You know, a little distraction. Something to help ease the sting. A way of saying, “We still love you. Look at what we got you!” And it worked like a charm. I was so excited about tooling around in my new wheels, I totally forgot that I was about to be moved from the center of attention to the outer limits of adoration. Out of the limelight and into the dark corners of Middle Child oblivion. But, look at my new fire truck! It’s bright red and I can drive it all by myself. What a great day this is! How lucky am I? I have no idea how long that little person they just brought home is planning to visit, but I’m sure it won’t be long. And when she splits, I get to keep this awesome fire truck. What a deal. Suckers!
          Who knew? 
          I’m sure this vivid memory is aided by the fact that my father documented the entire homecoming on film. Of course he did. (I already wrote about the lack of photographic proof of my homecoming in a previous post, so I won’t go there again. Even though I think I just did, a little.) In any case, why settle for my written recollection of the day? Let’s go to the videotape...

          Look at me. What a happy little boy! What a glorious day!! Poor kid. I have no clue that my life is about to change forever. I’m even oblivious to the huge load it appears I’m carrying in my diaper. That's how happy I am.

          That’s me in the car with my mother, and tugging at her as she steps out of the car with my new sister. It’s almost as if I can sense the party is over. That these are my final moments as the cherished baby, about to become nothing more than a distant memory. Yesterday’s news. Cast aside onto the ash heap of birth order. Yeah, but that fire truck!

          Baby? What baby!?! I’ve got a fire to get to. Outta my way, lady! I was only alive for two years before my sister arrived. Ironically, I have no memory of those pre-Middle Child glory days. But I’ll never forget that fire truck. 
Here's a great way to welcome a new Middle Child to the ranks. Check out the new “I.M.C.U. New Member” merchandise at the Smack Dab Shop. It's no fire truck, but at least it's something.

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