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Middle Sister Syndrome?

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.

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Sophistication and the Usefulness of Socks

I remember while I was growing up I wanted to act sophisticated. I wished my family were more “polished,” or at least less embarrassing. My mom will admit proudly that she is a bit of a redneck. We are country kids at heart, no matter where we live. You just can’t “sophisticate” out the years of climbing barn ladders to play in haylofts, mucking stalls, and catching frogs from a pond.

I found myself recently pondering the “sophistication” of my own immediate family. Though I love my kids and husband an unbelievable amount and with an intensity that can only be attributed to Christ’s love flowing through me, I have to admit that I have many times throughout the years found myself embarrassed by their somewhat brash behavior.

However, as my daughter was swinging around her potato sock today while she waited for her sister’s to get done so she could pop it in the microwave. . .okay, I’ll explain. We used to have a custom made bag to microwave potatoes in and it worked fabulously. We’ve lost it, like most things we’ve ever owned, so I discovered that microwaving a potato in a sock does the same thing (hey, it’s clean).

We’ve found that socks are for more than just keeping feet warm: they work for washing in the shower-they slip right over your hand, so you don’t have to worry about dropping your washcloth; my 7-year-old discovered that in a pinch you can put pretzels and goldfish in them to snack while you’re playing outside; if you read my other blog posts, you know they do a good job of wiping off lipgloss; and of course the baked potato use.

Which brings me back to sophistication. In case it isn’t obvious from the many things we use socks for in my house, I’ve given in. We just aren’t a proper family. And guess what: I’m glad. There is a freedom that is coming from letting that go. I am finally getting to the place in which I am okay if people don’t like me for me. People will never see our family and say, “My they are refined. I wonder if Cyndy can tell me which fork I should use for my salad.” (By the way, I can’t. I’ll just wipe the dressing off the fork and use it for the main dish too.)

I find myself loving how we are at big extended family parties. When my mom, siblings, nieces and nephews, and my family are all together we are loud, we are overwhelming to outsiders, and we are brash (though still in an appropriate-kid friendly way). I’m better than okay with that. I am blessed and honored to be a part of my family. Just the way it is.