Being a middle child is often lamented. It is spoken of in terms of something to overcome. “Middle Child Syndrome” and its effect on the emotional development of children is studied in Sociology, Psychology, and Child Development. I even know of people who had only two children, or made sure to have a fourth to eliminate this factor for one of their children.
I am not technically a middle child. If you consider the four of us who grew up together, I am one of the middle children. If you add in my brother who has a different mom, I am second oldest. If you just look at the sisters, I am the middle sister. So, in a lot of ways, I grew up feeling like a middle child. I wasn’t special for being oldest, or babied for being youngest. I did fade into the background a lot.
However, as I have gotten older, I have seen the merit in being in the middle. I am five years younger than my older sister, and five years older than my younger. This has given me a unique opportunity to bond with them both in similar ways. I shared being pregnant with my older sister. She was pregnant with her second, and I with my first. She shared her knowledge with me; including the little things you would be mortified to tell anyone else. Then, I was able to be pregnant with my younger sister (she with her third and I with my 4th) many years later.
As the years pass, I think I can relate to them both well. My older sister and I share the joys and frustrations of raising teenagers, while my younger sister and I share the joys and frustrations of raising toddlers. I glean wisdom from a sister who has already been there. She jokes that I can learn from her mistakes, but I am constantly impressed with the mother she is, and I learn from what she does right. I then pass that on to a sister who will be approaching it in the blink of an eye (with a little of my own thrown in.) Although, if I’m honest, my younger sister has taught me a great deal as well. I am continually amazed with how much she accomplishes with excellence.
I feel that I am in a very blessed position-sandwiched between two of the greatest women I know. Good or bad, the position I hold in my family has a lot to do with the woman I’ve become.