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The Perks of Being Last June 1, 2006

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Family, Football, Learning, Love, Parenting/Children.

As my oldest son prepares for college, my youngest son is anticipating becoming an only child for a few years. As I pondered this, an odd truth occurred to me.
last place
The oldest child gets to be an only child at the beginning of his/her life. The youngest gets to be an only child near the end of their childhood.

The Middle Class
It’s hard for me to say if it’s better to be the first, or better to be the last. Being a “forgotten middle child,” I was never in this position. (Note: It’s laughable for me to say “forgotten,” because none of the four of us were anything less than flooded with love and attention by our parents.) An oldest, being an only child at the dawn of their lives, has the benefit of dominating the beginning of the parenting process. In contrast, the youngest gets the benefit of parents who are “broken in,” and is more likely able to remember the events of their singular status. I can see pros and cons to both situations, developmentally and practically, and can’t decide if one path is preferable.

What I can say, as a parent, is that I am looking forward to these years with my youngest son, just as much as I enjoyed the earliest years of my older son’s life. I am looking forward to his remaining years in high school being the focal point of family life, instead of living in his brother’s shadow. I look forward to celebrating his success, and that success not being eclipsed by one who “did those things first.”

O’ Brother, Where Art Thou?
Already, the youngest is showing signs of greatness in the weightroom, having hit 820 lbs in a 3-lift “max out test.” (The three lifts are bench press, cleans, and squats.) Prior to finishing his Freshman year, he has already passed the weightlifting numbers of some of last year’s Seniors. I have no idea if this is because, all of his life, he’s had to compete with someone three years ahead of him. Possibly it’s just the natural differences in physiology and personality. Regardless, he doesn’t see the accomplishments of his brother as an insurmountable boundary.

One Flew Out of the Cuckoo Nest… One to Go
How far will my youngest son go? I don’t know, but whether it’s football, basketball, or something completely apart from athletics, I am looking forward to the show.

Oh… one more perk. Now that the older brother has finished high school, the younger son will have another fan in the stands.


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