Now that I am in my 30's I feel like I have a better understanding on my childhood. I am not distracted by children, by a stressful job or the usual issues that can come up in a person's life during their early adulthood. I walk my dog by the Boise river, every morning I throw his Frisbee, work on his training, or just lay on the grass looking up at the bright sky with him. The most stress I have is talking to my Hubby about chores of the day when he isn't such a morning person. I understand that without a doubt, I have a very happy life. But it wasn't always like this....As a Child growing up with 2 other siblings, then as a Teenager having 3 more baby siblings. My life was very different, I have many memories of it. Which have taught me something about who I am and where I come from.
My sister and I are a year and half apart in age though most people just assumed Dana was older by her very strong personality. Our brother Derek is 3 years younger then me and He was always Dana's playmate growing up. My Sister was a "Tom-Boy" the polar opposite of me in my love for pink lacy girlie things. So while her and Derek made outside forts and carried long sticks to sword fight, I had a baby stroller that I pushed around demanding them not to whack my baby doll.
My Mother's Name is Deborah, Debby for short and since she hated Deborah so much she allowed my Father to name me just Debby. When I asked why I was named the same as her because it was so frustrating to have people start talking to me on the phone only to have me interrupt them asking "Do you mean you want to talk to my Mom?" my middle name initial became my signature trademark, something of my very own.
My Mother replied so casually "I thought you were a boy." I was confused, she explained "When I was pregnant with you I prayed for a boy, and I was so sure you were a DEREK."
I was stunned "Derek!? you called me Derek for nine months!" She chuckled and shrugged. So I sat 14 years old, stunned at the kitchen table realizing that I....through the power of prayer ....should have been a boy. At that moment Derek walked right by me unaware of my new understanding in why he was such a favored child. Since my Sister and I always got into trouble growing up, my Brother Derek would take personal notes on what NOT to do, or how NOT to get caught.
He had a sense of entitlement, a sense of knowing he was the Love of our Mother's life.
Now I remember him being a very sweet likable child so little and always cuddling. But when he became the model family member, hardly getting spanked and always referred to as the only good child in a group. It also became very clear that he was a spy for our Parents, most of the time we would ditch him, ignore or tie him up.
One summer night when my sister and I tied him into a lawn chair, he was very upset because he had been telling us what not to watch on the TV while our parents were out. It was really funny to have him stuck outside yelling at us. when he jumped up and down the chair broke in half, my sister and I were laughing so hard at the tangled sight of him. He became scared that he would get in trouble for braking the chair, so he never told on us for tying him up! Derek was the chosen one in our family where both Mom and Dad would stop talking to smile proudly at him. Then Derek would brake out into an arrogant speech while many times my sister and I would look at each other as if to silently the say "Oooh Brother!"
Now I look back to those days realizing to Derek the whole world was so stupid starting first at home. He knew what was best, what was right in God's eyes. He had good intentions for most of the things he did, his people skills took along time to arrive. When I was 19 years old I had a new friend over, she was hanging out in my bedroom when Derek appeared. He didn't even say "HI" he just looked her up and down skeptical then asked "Are you another one of Debby's stupid friends?" She flew up to meet him in the eye, staring at him in shock. I went scrambling to push him out of my bedroom thinking if ever there was a woman who would take him down, it would be Benny.
She often said I didn't give her time to retort, but really I feared if he got mad, he would report to my Mom that my new friend couldn't hang around me.
When Derek was driving me home from work one evening while we had to share the car until his pickup was repaired. He wouldn't let me listen to a Cher song. The on and off button battle for the car radio went on until I took a loose fresh farm egg out of my box of groceries only to smash it on his head, he was totally surprise as he drove down the dirt road. The egg fight began, the power struggle of wills through the throwing of yokes and the smashing of shells. He had this fight with my sister a couple of years earlier, only they were in a kiddie pool holding each other down. I hated watching that fight turn so ugly. My Mom watched also shaking her head commenting "Don't mess with Derek, he will win every time." I nodded in agreement hoping the bloody nose my sister got would make her stop.
The egg fight was more a Debby style fight, no blood and no screaming, mostly just laughing so hard tears mixed with the egg on my face. I realize I had such hostile feelings towards Derek, maybe because our Mom called me him before I was even born.
Maybe because he was a "Know-it-all", a preachy kid.
Or maybe it was just natural to compete for power as siblings. I enjoyed the moment when I was visiting a friend, who talked about our church's softball team. She was so upset at this guy named Derek who would acted like he was the coach, like he owned the softball team. She turned to me, asking
"Have you noticed that guy? He is such a jerk! last week he was even chewing you out! Who does he think he is?"
I just nodded, smiling, understanding then answered "He is Derek (insert our shared last name), My brother." She was instantly embarrassed "Oh no! I am so sorry!" I just laughed, while reassuring her everything she had said was right.
In fact obviously if people who knew me, and didn't know he was my brother, then I was so proud I did a good job in keeping away from him.
I think the life of my Brother as "the Chosen One" isn't as easy as it use to be. Now he gives out hugs at the family dinners, he laughs kindly at our Nephews and Niece. He leads our teen aged brothers in school. I am proud of him for moving out on his own, for enjoying his college time and new friends. I understand as my Brother I always enjoy his jokes, his stories and his new kinder self. For my parents I realize they need a Hero, a bragging story of the one child they can be proud. I am not threaten anymore, nor jealous of living in the shadow of the Chosen one. I just tip my hat when passing by my brother in the same town of our different lives.