I know I know, what a cliché! Nobody cares! Well, some people care. I care. I know most of you secretly care. Anyway, I need to vocalize to heal so I’m gonna go for it.
I am six years older than my first brother. (This is a nice first-grade sentence Nat, what a start.) He was actually born when I was in first Grade. It was November and that piece of information shouldn’t matter at all had it not been the day in November before my birthday. That’s right. I should have known right there and then that things were about to change. The day before my sixth birthday is when the rest of my childhood birthdays would end. Shared cakes, candles, presents and pocket money, parties with sweaty two-year olds running around, the works!
It was a long time ago, many of the things that could get social services at your doorstep, were absolutely fine back then. Like five-year-olds buying cigarettes and beer. We even returned the beer bottles for something like 2 cents a bottle as soon as we could count. I feel old writing this but also lucky to have witnessed that era but also even older now that I wrote about how lucky I feel. Anyway.
He was supposed to take over the chores from me. Finally after 10 years of rounds to the super market I was ready for a promotion. To my surprise, he knew his rights by instinct. He said no to all the chores, he never carried beer bottles or bought cheese. He only went to the local grocery store to buy chocolate or ice cream for himself and that was that. He was well ahead of his time. I admire him for that now. I wanted him returned to sender back then.
First of all, he doesn’t know how lucky he was to have me. I had nobody, OK? No inspiration, no role model, nobody to steal a car from to take my friends for a ride before I even had a license. Nobody to get me into clubs, nobody to give me love advice. Nobody to kick. Nobody. He came along and it was like I accumulated all this wealth of knowledge and all this wisdom just to pass it on to him for free from Day 1. And what did he do? When he was old enough to hold his number two, he got all the meatballs our grandma hid in the oven for when he showed up.
I’m sure he is enjoying all the attention he is getting right now because that’s what the younger siblings’ middle name is: Attention. Either too much or the lack of. Attention in the good things and no attention at all in other things like what time they got home, why they need all this money, which friend is in their room. Things are even better for them if the first child has been an angel, in which case she has. Then parents are even more clueless cause they don’t realise how many things could have gone wrong.
You see, the second baby is royal. They are the I-will-do-it-right-this-time babies. And they know it. The second baby always knows they have it good. That’s why they usually just eat and sleep. Cause they know they got nothing to prove. They are there to be marvelled and spoilt. End of story.
According to Adler (Wikipedia), the Austrian psychiatrist, firstborns are “dethroned” when a second child comes along, and this loss of perceived privilege and primacy may have a lasting influence on them. With all due respect, before you shameless secondborns reading this start calling me on my issues, I would like to send a message to Mr Adler or his grand-children more like that I do not belong to this category. I have no issues with my dethronement, I’m just writing a public article about it a few decades later.
Tomorrow marks the first day we are free to go out after two months in quarantine. I’ve already planned what I’m baking to celebrate. My brother is coming over. I’m probably gonna cry. He’s not. He’s gonna laugh at me crying over seeing him. That’s what younger siblings do. You pave the way and they laugh at you and then they eat all the cake you made but you still love them to death. This is how it is and how it will always be. And it’s fine by me as long as he stops to fetch some beer on his way here.