Skip to main content

Middle Child

I was the middle child in an Hispanic family, the one wedged between the oldest son and the baby daughter. A lot was excused from an oldest son, and who could resist the cuteness of a baby sister?

Me?  I was the proverbial chopped liver – lonely and abused.

I was also the oldest daughter in an Hispanic family.  I was expected to learn how to do household chores and learn how to cook. I was the little mama, the one who helps with the younger siblings.  Oh yay!

My parents had high expectations for all of us.  Both of them were highly intelligent, and they suspected the same from us, so they demanded nothing less than A’s in school.  They sometimes overlooked my brother’s B’s (cabeza dura), but I was hounded and condemned to hours of study if I dared to bring home anything less than a straight A.

My parents, especially my mother, didn’t care where or when she scolded me. Often it was out in public – in front of my friends or classmates, loud enough for everyone to hear and see.  A proud and independent child, I resented being corrected in public. It only increased my rebellion and determination to get out of there as soon as I could.

I decided I would never have children. But I did – three of my own. 

What did I learn from my upbringing?

One, regardless of birth order and how easily it can be to play favorites, don’t.  Give time and be fair and equal to all the children.  All three of mine had equal amounts of responsibilities but I also shared my time with each of them.

Two, it is okay to have expectations from each one.  An education is non-negotiable.  So is going to church. I tried to impress on my three that school is not just a social hangout; we also want a good transcript and a diploma. If A’s were not accessible, then a passing grade would do (but I knew what to expect from them).

Three, I never corrected them out in public.  We waited until we were in private – our home, the car, or the closest public rest room.  If they hoped and prayed I would forget by the time we got to some place private, their prayer was never granted.

I hated being a middle child.  I hated being ignored except for when it came to chores or responsibilities. It broke my heart to see my parents lavish attention on my brothers and sisters and treat me less. Because of it, I am aware of when it happens to others.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Dating Challenged

I stink at dating – always have.   I sputter.   I hyperventilate.   I fail miserably every time. I blame a pathetically underdeveloped gene that got little use before I married in my early twenties, then atrophied, gathering dust and rust, until I became single again in my fifties.   I decided to use this defect to my advantage when I needed to do some investigative reporting a few years back.   While on a newspaper writing assignment on Boomer-aged dating, I sacrificed my dignity and my vanity for the sake of the story (and I got several). Thank goodness, HoneyBunch saved me from all this when we married.  (He comes up with the best dates.) I’ve decided I will “show you mine if you show me yours.”   I will swap dating horror stories with you, but you have to promise to play along. The trick here is to tell about your worst date in 25 words or less.   You must keep it clean and you cannot name names. Our little contest will run only this week and before my next blogger posting.   Me

Happy Breastday to Me!

I gave myself a very special birthday present this year – I had surgery. Before you think it was to increase, decrease, or “lift” something, let me tell you it was not cosmetic (though I could probably use a few nips and tucks at my age; the infinite number of creams I buy OTC are not working their promised magic). About four or five months ago, I discovered a hard lump about the size of a large marble in my left armpit.  I had been feeling small pangs of pain in my left chest for several months, but I figured it was just my turn to dance with heart disease.  Everyone in my immediate family is diabetic and suffers from strokes or heart attacks, so I thought – here we go; my turn. I was going to tell my internist about the pangs during my next visit, so imagine my surprise when I discovered the lump. The Drama Queen in me immediately manifested herself – cancer, I thought.  I have cancer. I searched some more and found that the texture on the left side of my left breast felt diffe

Twelve Female Hero Authors Who Influenced Me to be an Author

In honor of Women’s History Month, I decided to share twelve female authors who changed my life forever and who influenced me to try my hand at writing. Some are not widely popular so you might want to try them out. 1.    Charlotte Bront é – English – Her plotting and characters - Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester – are immortal.  2.    Louisa May Alcott – American – I loved how she created a family of Little Women that reminded me of my sisters.  3.    Jane Austen – English – Another author who knew how to build immortal characters. Two words:  Mr. Darcy. Two more words:  hubba hubba. 4.    Emily Dickinson – American - What a poet! Her innovation was pooh-poohed at first, but now we owe her for breaking all those punctuation barriers. 5.    Beverly Cleary – American – She created a little girl in Ramona that reminded me of me when I was a little girl.  I wish I had met Ms. Cleary’s books sooner instead of when I was in my 30’s. 6.    Judy Blume – American - He