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Being The Third Child: My Story
It Can Be Lonely Out There
An Introduction to my Story:
I remember when I was little, being told when things went wrong, it was because I was the third child. My parents never rushed to help me, if I fell over. They were quick to ridicule when I did something wrong. My older siblings it seemed had achieved falling over to perfection, so perhaps my parents were bored of that. When they (my older siblings) did something wrong, it always seemed to amuse my parents, very often they laughed it off. Perhaps one can only laugh so much.
I always seemed on the outside looking in. When my two younger siblings arrived, they received adoration. An emotion, I never knew personally, but was used to seeing from a distance. Hence the recognition.
Saturday mornings I would clean the fire out and hoover the house. My older sister laid in bed. I could cook scrambled egg and bacon to perfection by the time I was eight. My little sisters favorite. I do believe my older sister had no idea how to cook till she had a husband that showed her. Perhaps now she knows! yet chooses not to bother.
My mother took a long vacation when I was about 12 years old. I was told it was because I was the third child. I think that was a lie. My older brother and sister were already in college and only came home for money or to get their laundry done. Perhaps my mum got sick of the laundry. I know I did.
I remember sitting on the school wall in mid December. My buttocks slowly going numb, as I shifted from one cheek to another. I looked across at my younger sisters as they teased each other, laughing, like kids should. I watched every car come and go. Each blue car had me jumping from the wall. I cursed my father. No one was coming. The school was closed. I had no money to make a call. Who would I call?
An hour or so later, I decided it was time to make a move. I called to my little sisters. ''Come on.'' I said, ''let's go.''
They looked over at me and asked. ''Where to?'' I jumped from that cold wall, wishing I'd brought a coat. I knew the next time I would have one. There was a lot of ''next times''.
I picked up my school bag and said. ''Home.'' How long could 5 miles take! I got used to that. And how long five miles could take.
My sisters always followed where I went. They trusted everything I said and did. I never told them how scared I felt at times. I took charge. I wanted them to be confident. I wanted them to think that everything that happened was ok. I wanted them to feel safe. I had it sorted. They could rely on me.
I hated fridays. I would have to walk with my sisters after school to the other end of the town, to the supermarket and do the weekly shop. Those two kids would run about the place, dropping sweets in the trolley. I'd take them all back out again. Don't get me wrong, we weren't poor, well not regarding money anyway. I hated the way the other mums watched us. I hated their sympathetic smiles. I hated knowing I needed floor cleaner or toothpaste. Planning a week of lunches and dinners. I was only a kid myself. I felt like someone's wife. I hated that.
I hated standing in the car park waiting for dad, watching my sisters like a hawk, running around playing. I'd hold onto the trolley praying it wouldn't rain. I always took ages shopping. I knew dad would take ages to pick us up! It wasn't his fault. He had to work after all. It was my fault. The third child. I know that.
They say the third child is very often confident, self assured and an achiever. I don't know about that. They say the third child learns from the older and teaches the younger, therefore building a good nature and a healthy attitude to life. Neither dependant nor solitary. I don't know about that either.
My mother came back a few years or more later. I couldn't live at home. It was almost like my mother became the other woman. All the cleaning, washing, cooking and shopping, looking after my kid sisters, everything changed. I guess I was doing it all wrong, me being the third child and all.
I'm older now, and realize every one has things that just happen in their lives. They need to stay! They need to go! Me, if I make a go of something it's because I was taught (so I'm told) if I make a mess of it, well that's because I'm the third child. I think perhaps it's just me, perhaps if I was the oldest or the youngest, I'd be told a different story. But I'm not: I'm the third child. I guess I should be used to it by now: but I'm not!
I still wonder now and again, how is possible to have four siblings and yet at times feel so very lonely? I guess that's just me; being a third child an all. Or perhaps it's just me regardless of my third child status. I don't know, and perhaps I never will. Maybe that's for the best. Who knows? Who can I ask? Who even cares? Probably no one, no one at all. I guess that's why at times I feel so alone. A solitary tree surrounded by a forest!
An extract from: Being The Third Child
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© 2010 Gabriel Wilson