Idea Bank #382
Where do you fall in the birth order of your family? First, middle, baby? Do you think that affected who you are today?
I am the eldest of two children. I have only one sibling, my brother. I am 16 months apart from him. I was 7 month old when my parents found out they were expected baby #2. My mom was 5 months pregnant with my brother on my first birthday.
I think both myself being the first born and our closeness in age has affected who I am today. First, my parents didn't exactly raise me on my own. I was only alone for for a year and a half of my life, which I do not remember. I do not remember a time without my brother. I do not remember a time when I was not the oldest. All my jealousy that I had towards my brother wasn't because I remember how things used to be without him, but came from how my parents treated us as they raised us at the same time, since I was never aware of being alone and being treated like the first child.
My mom in particular (and even to this day) is all about fairness. If she bought something for me, she would buy something for my brother, and vice versa. There were times when we got the exact same thing but in a different colour. Despite how my mom tried to be fair, it wasn't 100%. My brother was always the baby. To this day, my brother is still the baby despite being 24 years old. In the divorce, my mom and dad split custody. My mom didn't see my brother for the longest time during the procedures, and if she did, it was only briefly. During this time my brother had a serious accident; he was rollerblading across a parking lot when he was hit by a truck that was trying to avoid the stoplight. He was sent to a hospital an hour away from his home with a fractured skull. My parents were told that he would either die or have serious mental problems. He was in surgery for a long time while they carefully put his shattered skull back in place. My brother not only survived, but also never lost his ability to function. He sometimes has trouble remembering things from his childhood but his accident when he was 14 never stopped him from doing well in school and graduating from a technical college. His recovery was miraculous.
My brother was also the first and only boy on my dad's side of the family in that generation, and he was the first boy born on my mom's side. My first boy cousin wasn't even born for another 5 or so years. My brother was special because of this. He was spoiled on both sides, but especially my dad's side because he was the gleaming hope that our surname would live on, while me and my two female cousins were dubbed not as special. We also lived closer to my paternal grandparents than my cousins.
I do feel a little jealous of my brother, and this has always made me strive to be as best as I can so that my parents acknowledge my worth as well. This isn't to say that they don't think I'm worthy, or special, but part of me has always felt I have had to compete against him, for attention and praise. This is why I spent my time focusing on school. I was a lot better at school than my brother. I was terrible at math, but everything else I pulled high marks. I went to university while my brother did not. I came out with a bachelor of science.
But, even my own graduation was over shadowed. I was sickened by the fact that my brother, who stayed in high school for an extra year, was going to graduating the same year as me from his college. I had worked 4 years for my degree and he was in his program for 2. My graduation got rained out because the university I went to prided itself on being environmental, green and close to nature. Our convocation was supposed to be held outside. It started to hail as soon as we got to our chairs outside the library. The grads were ushered into the biggest auditorium the school had. It only sat 300 people. The parents were told to go wait at the reception hall. Nobody saw us cross the stage to get our diplomas. We were congratulated by the dean and principal amongst each other and not our families. We had to walk back to them as the rain poured down. All the food had been eaten by the bored parents. When we decided to leave, the sun came out.
The next month, I went to my brother's graduation. The college rented out a hockey arena in the town. There was plenty of seats. The graduation would go on rain or shine. I was jealous.
Even in the things I excel at, my mom sometimes chooses him over me. I will show the ponies all year but when it comes to the big end of the year show in Toronto at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, my mom will pass over all my hard work and have my brother show the ponies instead of me, earning him the glory when they win the ribbons.
To this day, I'm not as jealous as I used to be as a kid. Sometimes I get frustrated that he appears to be better treated than myself. I realize he is special, just like I am special to them as well. But being the eldest who always did what she was told and did well, I sometimes resent that I have to strive hard to make myself feel justified.
A Back To School, Back To Blogging Post