A very early memory – at about 15 months – was the arrival of a baby brother. It was actually quite a shock. I learned as an older adult that as the first of my generation in the extended family, I had been the object of volumes of attention – from my parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. I had no idea. That was just life as I knew it – constantly being picked up, hugged, squeezed, cooed to, cooing. Then my mother disappeared for a day or two – it was a bit lonely but still Dad was there. Then she came back and I was ready for it all to resume – yay! But she was carrying something – what is that? Turned out to be a little teeny baby, all wrapped up, complaining a bit sometimes – and suddenly he would be getting all the attention! I figured out that this was to be the new norm. If I had words for it, my reaction could have been described as “Who ordered that?”
After a while I learned tricks to divert the attention back. But he soon had ways of his own. The game was on! That could be described as the theme of the rest of our childhood. But even when successful, it was always temporary and conditional. The good old days didn’t come back.
Of course we both developed lives and interests and I was glad to have a brother so near my age, and I really admire everything he has accomplished. The end result – we both grew up have very competitive personalities, no matter what the endeavor was. And we had our own circles to be the centers of.
I tell people we were always very competitive types, but I got over it first.
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