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Hidden in Plain Sight This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Everyone is unique, right? That's what we've been told from day one. But parents have some explaining to do, because that's not how we're treated. Any by “we,” I mean middle children, of course.

There is nothing special about how we are treated or raised. We become a muddled mixture of our two siblings. It's almost like being hidden in plain sight.

The oldest child is the leader of the pack. Something to compare us to. Always reaching milestones first. It's always, “Oh, my! I can't believe you're doing that already! You're so mature!” Gag me.

The youngest child is the baby of the bunch. The last little blessing. Something parents want to hold onto and savor. It's always, “Oh my goodness, how cute you are! It seems like only yesterday you were in diapers!”

What does that leave for the middle child?

Nada.

Zilch.

Zip.

NOTHING.

The middle child is the one struggling to keep her head above water. Trying to get noticed. Trying to read the messed-up situation that is the life of a middle child. For us, it's always “How old are you? Oh.” Nothing special.

It's completely unfair. We have no say in where in the birth order we lie. We can't just skip ahead or stay back to compete with our siblings. Someone will always do everything before and after you.

But even the comparison isn't the worst aspect of being a middle child. The worst is being forgotten.

I can't express how many times I've had to speak up and include myself after my parents have considered both my sisters but conveniently forgotten my existence. Sometimes I feel like I have an invisibility cloak over my head. Or maybe it's that special middle child pheromone that leads people to look away.

I've been overlooked for so many opportunities that I have been the perfect candidate for, and I blame my status as a middle child. I'm sure that whoever got the chance to do whatever I wanted to do was a good choice. But I can't help but think that maybe I set myself up to fail.

Maybe, subconsciously, I decided that it's okay to not get what I want. Because, well, why should I get my hopes up for something when I've been denied everything in the past?

Now, I don't know if this holds true for other middle children, but I can't help but notice that all my friends who are either oldest or youngest children have historically gotten everything they wanted.

A close second to being forgotten is the unfairness of being a middle child.

Now, everyone always say life isn't fair, but I think this is even more true for a middle child. If my sisters gave me a dollar for every time they benefitted in a squabble and I lost, I'd be driving my Ferrari to my summer mansion in the Hamptons and they would be fending off calls from the debt agency. When the same issue arises and I am the defender rather than the perpetrator, the opposite verdict is delivered. I can't help but get the impression that my parents are corrupt judges.

I mean, throw me a bone here! This is the 21st century! Is equality that much to ask for? We have racial equality and gender equality. Maybe next up to the Supreme Court should be Middle Child v. the World.

On the other hand, we'd probably lose that one too.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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VeggieLoverForever said...
Aug. 7, 2012 at 9:08 am:
This is amazing. As the oldest child I can't relate to this but this was funny and logical and really spectacular. I cant get over it, it was so good. Hats off to you my friend :)
 
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