Thursday, September 18, 2008


I'm the baby in a family with 5 children. On top of which I am that late-in-life, we-thought-we-were-done-but-oops! kid. I have a brother 8 years older than me, a sister 11 years older, another brother 13 years older and another 15 years older.

It was odd because it was almost like growing up an only child with a lot of uncles and an aunt. By the time I hit my teens my brothers and sisters had all moved out and I only saw them on holidays. Even now that we're adults, when we all get together, they exchange stories of crazy teen antics I did not partake in and memories of family events I was in diapers for.

That exclusion is a hard part of being the youngest, by a mile. However it's bareable and expected. And being a late-in-life baby for my parents, who are now in the mid 70s means I won't have them in my life as long as my siblings, and I have accepted that. But what has happened that was unexpected and I can't seem to accept is losing my siblings before my parents. My oldest brother died of lung cancer before he hit 40. And now my 44 year old brother is in the hospital awaiting a course of treatment after having a mild heart attack. He'll either have stents put in his arteries or bypass. I'm sure my brother will be fine because this kind of medical issue is, sadly, common nowadays and very treatable, especially because they caught it before a major heart attack. But it still makes me sad for things I can not change and things I'll never have.

I watched my grandmother - at 80 - enjoy Christmas dinner with her brother. They were 4 years apart. It was so neat to watch them interact and share stories about moving from Newfoundland to Montreal with their parents and sister. My favorite part of extended family gatherings was watching my dad and his sisters tease each other. They do it everytime they get together and have a wee bit too much to drink. (which is always). They joke about how my dad used to get his youngest sister to play poker with him every Saturday morning and swindle her out of her allowance. Or how he used to bully his oldest sister's male suitors.

My brother curently in the hospital has 8 year old twins - a boy and a girl. I watched them finish each other sentences and know exactly how to push each other buttons and I envy it. I want to sit them down and tell them how lucky they are and how they should thank their lucky stars for their closeness, both in age and emotion. But I know they wouldn't get it. I really wish I didn't get it either.

No comments: