About Me

My photo
Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Little Brother/Sister Syndrome

This blog post is by friend, mystery writer, and pharmacist Don Weiss.

They say the two unavoidable constants in life are death and taxes. There is however a third, which I call the little brother/sister syndrome.

No matter how old one gets, if you’re the last to emerge from your mother’s womb, you are forever tarred with the stigma of being the little brother or sister.  My 102-year-old aunt still refers to her 94-year-old brother as her "little brother." My own brother will be 69 years old. I will forever and always be his "little brother," even though I’m three inches taller and fifteen pounds heavier.

The first born is the experimental child. Mother and father are learning how to be parents. By the time the last one comes around, they’ve practiced enough on the first born so that (and I quote from older siblings) “you got away with murder.”  As a little brother, I don’t think I got away with murder - maybe involuntary manslaughter.

Of course you also suffer from the sin of comparison, especially when you're just young enough to have some of the same teachers as your older sibling. And if you’re not quite as good in arithmetic or science and you have a tendency to have notes sent home from school, well, you really suffer from the sin of comparison.

It’s not all bad being a little brother or sister. You tend to compartmentalize the negative and "accentuate the positive":  the countless Saturday matinees, the visits to the science museum, the time he helped you paint your model Corvette or protected you from a neighbor hood bully.  These outweigh the multiple times he jumped out from behind a doorway and scared the hell out of you, especially after you just watched Boris Karloff in the movie "Frankenstein." You remember the time he saved you from choking on a piece of licorice, which far outweighs the number of times he conned you into cutting the grass and doing the dishes when it was really his turn.

Little brothers and sisters also serve other purposes. Having a cute little brother who has lost his two front teeth is almost as good as having a puppy when it comes to your teenage big brother trying to charm a teenage girl into making out with him at the movies. The cardinal rule for little brothers is to keep your mouth shut and you'll get as much popcorn and soda as your seven year old bladder can hold.

As you grow older, some of the big brother—little brother gap closes. You share a beer together when you turn sixteen. You stay up late reminiscing into the small hours of the morning on the night your big brother’s daughter is born. Or two years later you rescue your niece from a house fire and for one brief shining moment little brother becomes a hero. Sometimes the roles reverse, like when your mother dies and you have to assume total charge of everything, including the eulogy.

All my first cousins have lost at least one brother. Me—I’m pretty lucky. In my sixties I still have a big brother alive and well, for whom I will forever and always remain—his little brother.