Hate Until I Love This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 7, 2011
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I am the third of four children, the youngest of three girls with a younger brother. I am nobody's baby girl, I am the jewel of no one's eye, I am just the third of three daughters, the second-to-youngest child. I am the bitter third child, the girl who was not special because there were already two girls before her. I am the disappointment, the recluse, the dreamer who prefers fiction to reality.

I remember a time before this, when I was the baby girl, when there was no little brother to steal the attention awarded to the youngest child. I remember cuddling with my mum in the cushy gray-brown recliner in the afternoon, listening to her read me stories in a soft voice. I remember playing with my older sisters in the meadow at the back of our property, I remember skinned knees from tag on the asphalt and scratched hands from climbing trees with rough, uneven bark. I remember playing dress-up in the basement and building blanket forts which we hid in during thunderstorms. I remember feeling that my family was complete, that this was who and where I was supposed to be: Rochester, Minnesota. I also remember the day my whole world was tilted on its axis.

We were woken up in the middle of the night and told to get dressed quickly; our brother had decided to arrive. We were bundled into the car in the sharp February air, coats thrown over hastily donned clothing. We were driven to the hospital where my mum was taken in one direction with my father following, and we were taken in another. We were told to wait in a playroom/waiting room with various relations and family friends there to watch us: grandma, godmother, aunt. The only person I wanted was my mum.

I remember that room, the television playing cartoons on repeat. The mini fridge in the corner with all types of goodies which we couldn't eat, the boring books and grown-up magazines, the unexciting toys which were few and far between. I remember being told by a nurse that my mum wanted us there with her to welcome my brother, I remember being brought into a crowded room with a bed and my mum in it. I remember trying to see her by standing on a chair. I also remember a man standing right in front of me, blocking my view so that in the end my brother entered the world with everyone's eyes on him except mine. I remember my oldest sister getting to cut the cord and hold the baby, I remember being told that I was too young to hold him, that I might drop him.
I remember frustration, I remember weariness, I remember wondering why everyone was so happy.

When he was still just a baby, I tried to kill my brother. I tried to crush the life out of him by sitting on him while he was asleep and no one was in sight. I tried to get rid of the nuisance who stole everyone's attention and love by stifling his tiny breaths with my four-year-old weight. I tried and failed. I tried later to catch my mum's attention, I tried to make things go back to the way they were before he arrived. I tried to ignore him, I tried to make him go away, I tried to once again be the youngest child, the adorable little girl loved by all.
I tried and failed.

I hated my younger brother until I was fourteen and he was ten. I hated him with all the passion of a slighted toddler, I hated him even more when he started talking and said to me, “My mummy!” whenever I tried to sit on my mum's lap. I hated him for so long that hate was the only emotion I could remember in reference to him. I hated him until the day I realized that he was not going to go away.
I hated him until I loved him.

My brother grew up with two loving older sisters, and one who resented his very existence. My brother was never given the chance to show that he really wasn't that bad. My brother was adored by all except by me, who abhorred him. My brother is the baby of the family, he is the only boy, he won over everyone without trying. My brother has never had to try to get love. My brother never had to relinquish his place as the adored, he never watched through a haze of jealousy as someone else was coddled and made exceptions for, he never had to fight for equality with a younger sibling. My brother's biggest worry is his math grade, he has never struggled to make friends, he has a natural talent for soccer which my parents have nurtured and spent thousands of dollars on.
But none of this is my brother's fault.

The days when I would run crying to my mum and she would fix everything ended with the birth of my brother. The days when my dad read a nighttime story to me and my sisters and sang us a song ended shortly thereafter. The days when my parents were invincible and omniscient ended when I became a secondary fixture in their lives.
The days when my parents had my unconditional respect ended when I lost a fraction of their love to a blue bundle.

My parents love my brother more than any of their other children. My sisters were old enough to understand this transference of attention when he was young; I was not. My parents have spent thousands of dollars on things my brother has shown just a slight interest in or talent for. He produces a good art project? My parents suggest signing him up for art classes. He needs help with math? My parents move heaven and earth to get a private tutor for him. If my brother were to show the slightest sign of depression my parents would probably get him the best shrink in the whole country.
My parents invented the definition of 'hovering'.

When a poem of mine was published in a collection of poems from teens around the world, I got a nice dinner. When I showed a talent for writing of different types of writing winning various school writing contest awards, they said good job. No mentions of writing classes, no talk of asking my teacher to spend extra time with me in order to advance my writing skills. They will drive back and forth at least four times a week to take my brother to soccer practice, yet complain when I ask them to drop me off at a dance class which was my idea, brought about by my research, and which I was willing to pay for. When I had trouble with math my parents just figured that I would sort it out on my own, no tutors. When we moved and I spent sleepless nights crying in my room, they didn't notice. If my brother had cried for more than a year, they would have both been there to dry his tears and hold him close.
My parents love me, but they love him more.

I love my brother. I love my sisters, and I love my parents, though sometimes that love is buried beneath miles of resentment and disdain for their double standards. I love my brother's sweetness, his naiveté, his desire to act older than he is. I love watching his soccer games, I love embarrassing him in public, I love teasing him about his popularity among the female middle school population. I love wrestling in the grass and turning tag into tackle. I love using him as a human foot-warmer while watching movies in the winter. I love watching him grow up into the type of man any girl would be glad to have. And I love not hating him.

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xprezzionstar said...
May 27, 2011 at 8:29 am
i felt the same when mi niece was born and came to live with us....i still feel the same way now that mi sister vists everyday and i have no persnal time with mom.....love ur comment tho i reall liyk this piece
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