First. Middle. Last.

There’s a tremendous emphasis on order in our world. Like everything else, I’m sure there are pros and cons for each position but there is no denying that first is the winning position.

First on the moon, yes. Last on the moon, not so much. First wife, last wife. Even first child has a snappier ring to it than last child. Lasts have a chip on their shoulders and rightly so since they have all those pre-them photos to chronicle all the ways their childhood was slighted.

I’m struck by the order of things and the accepted categories.

The first is the bossy one, the middle is needy because he’s neglected, and the youngest is spoiled, or bratty, or any of the things the other two groups want to hang on her.

First only gains recognition if there are more to follow. Without middles and lasts, first is “only” and only is not the same as first. Our world makes that abundantly clear.

Don’t even get me started on only. I’m an only and if one more person asks me if it was “lonely being and only,” I’m going to scream.

No. It was incredible, thank you very much. But we can discuss my issues some other time.

Middle appears to be the position of no pressure. Middle school isn’t high school yet. Middle age isn’t old. Middle can be either boring or the sweet spot. It’s open, and maybe that’s why middles are often fun.

Last, similar to first, only exists in context. “Save the best for last” is one of my youngest’s favorite phrases. That and “you always do an outline and a rough draft before the final copy.”

Lord, the material used to laud one place in line over another is endless within families.

Outside the growing-up-bubble though first and last seem to be the key positions. What’s that Ricky Bobby says? “Ain’t first, you’re last.” We appear to covet one and sulk about the other.

So much attention is given to the first and the last of everything. “I was picked last.” “Open my present first.” “I’m first in line.”

No one ever says, “I’ll have the middle one,” or “I graduated middle of my class.”

I wonder if that is because there’s too much gray in the middle. We want to categorize, and middle could mean anything. Awhile back, I wrote about finding space in the center, but now I might start playing with it even more.

“I’m a middle of the road mom” or “Eh, I’m fine with the middle seat.”

I can already hear the responses. “Don’t say that you’re a great mom.” “No one wants that seat.”

People strive to be first, squirm in the middle, and begrudgingly accept last.

Thus, the argument for only. Ugh, onlies are so self-absorbed.

My thoughts from the laundry room. Early to Rise.

acceptance children life only child organization thoughts

7 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I like the midde seat. The middle seat is fine. When we all go in my friends car I sit in the middle because I’m little and my legs are short. I’m perfectly comfortable there, and my friends don’t have to squish their normal-length legs into the teeny leg space in the middle seat. 😀

  2. I’m a middle, and proud of it. My husband is also a middle child. My only complaint is that my younger sister (the last) often got the same privileges at the same time as I did. While I had to wait until it was my turn, she didn’t except for driving, then it was age related. ~nan

  3. There were 5 of us. I was the middle for the longest time, until the twins came along when my younger sister was already 8 and I was 12, thus making me the 2nd oldest.

    My Old Man used to introduce us like this (I made up the names): “This here is my oldest boy, Jamie. And this is my beautiful daughter, Beth. These are the twins, Billy and Bobby.” Then he’d aim his dismissive thumb at me and say, “And this one here writes poetry,” as if I didn’t even have a name, couldn’t lay claim to my correct place in birth order, and like writing poetry was some sort of shameful act.

    Dear old Dad. Rest in peace.

  4. I’m a “middle kid.” My complaint about being the “middle” is that I was never old enough to have the privileges of being the oldest BUT I was old enough to look after my younger sister.
    Other than the age and responsibility thing, I enjoyed being the middle kid 🙂
    And yes, I get to do all the “older kid” stuff now and loving it!

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