This I Believe

Ben - Buda, Texas
Entered on September 8, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

Last in Line

Last place is sometimes the best. Yes that’s right, I’m talking about birth order. The first-born child holds an awesome place in the family, right up until the birth of the second child. Then he gets ignored, since the second child takes more time and attention. When the third child is born, once again the focus shifts. As the fourth child comes, the others give in to his sweet, young, adorable face. He cons everyone; they think he must be getting the worst of it because he is last in line—the hand-me-downs, the abuse from older siblings, the over-protectiveness from his parents. But I am here to testify that beneficial things happen to the last child.

First-born children feel the weight of responsibilities piled on by their parents, even if that means giving up entire weekends to baby-sit younger siblings. Middle children sometimes get the least care; because they are in the middle they feel they are neglected, or not loved. That’s just not a good frame of mind to be in. The youngest child, well, his family expects him to do. . . nothing. He does everything right the first time because, guess what, everyone ahead of him already screwed up. There are no hand-me-downs, that is just a myth. In reality, the last-born becomes king. Once all of his siblings move out, the last-born realizes how his parents treat him.. One perk of being the last-born deals with transportation. You know that ‘kids’ car which has been passed down from the eldest to the last? You know what I’m talking about, the always-dirty white colored sedan, with no power steering, ripped seats, hail damage, a four year old bag of French fries underneath the seat, which smells like warm cabbage. Just as soon as the third- born leaves, this hunk-a-junk suddenly dies (which surprises no one, since it has well over 200,000 miles.) You are given the option of a new car, since no other siblings are there to shuttle you to school anymore. Suddenly things look up. You have a new car, what could be better?

“Maybe a new bed,” says your dad. “What the heck!” Your mother

continues, “Let’s redecorate the whole room.” What do you do? You smile and say thank you. After all, they want their last child to be happy. You see, as your brothers and sisters move away, your parents have fewer things to worry about. With each kid out of the house, they have fewer clothes to wash, less homework to supervise, and more time for you.

One day on your way out of the house, ready to drive to school in your new car, your mother may stop you and say, “Don’t bother making your bed,, or putting away your clothes. I will do it for you.” What do you do? Just smile and say thanks for the special treatment. Because that is what you are–‘special.’ You’re their last kid.

You may feel that your siblings had their best laugh at your expense, or that your parents don’t have time for you now, but later, you may just be laughing all the way to your throne!

(Words—529 including title)