I am a middle child. One older sister, one younger sister, with me in....well...the middle. I have heard we are all a product of our genetics, in addition to upbringing, experiences, and environment. I'll buy that. As the middle child, psychologists would peg me as a mediator and peace keeper, among other things. At times this is true of myself, but also each of my siblings. The dynamics between siblings, especially sisters, is ever changing.
As a child, there were definite moments where I felt every bit the middle child. This was not always a bad thing. I got the usual hand me downs, was mistaken for my older sister, and had to wait my turn for privileges like babysitting and learning to drive. It was the natural order of things, and I learned to expect it. Sadly, there were times, though, that being the middle child just didn't feel very special.
On Christmas mornings as a child, before anyone was allowed to peek at the tree and what Santa had left under it, we had to pose for the required picture. Always taken on the staircase, my older sister sitting a step above me, and my younger sister sitting a step below me, we would smile with the anticipation of tearing paper off wonderfully wrappped packages. (And push and argue and grumble at each other to hurry up and sit and smile so we could get to the PRESENTS.)
I have memories of receiving a Thumbelina doll, trolls, and the generic type of "Barbie" that fit best into my parents budget at the time. I understand the idea of generic now, but as a kid, not so much! My older sister was the first to get a REAL Barbie. And a bike. And many other items that I can't even recall. The gift that touched my heart the most, and one I will never forget, was a teddy bear my dad had given to me one memorable Christmas.
After posing for the traditional staircase picture, my sisters and I descended the stairs to find three teddy bears lined up, waiting for us to claim them. There was a large bear, a medium size bear, and a small bear. This is not quite the story of the three bears, but nevertheless means the world to me. My sisters and I approached the soft, stuffed creatures, each picking up the size that reflected our position in the family. When I had the middle bear in my hands, my dad stopped me. Unsure of what was wrong, I looked at him questioningly. He then told me the BIG bear was for me. Now a picture of my face at that moment, I'm sure, would have been priceless. The big one for ME!? I was amazed, overwhelmed, and so happy that my dad had chosen a bear especially for me. Not for his middle child, but for me.
Everytime I played with that bear I felt a sense of being truly loved for who I was. I never shared with my dad the effect his gesture and that gift had on me, but pray that he knew the impact it had on my life. But that's a story for another time.
A warm country hug to all,