What Were My Parents Thinking?



          Just a couple more days before the kids are home for the summer and we are starting to hyperventilate from the sheer excitement. Wait. Did we say excitement? We meant dread. By Friday we will have a 17 year old who is starting her college applications, a six year old who can’t wait to be on vacation and the three year old who has been waiting rather impatiently for everybody to be home. Scary! Now comes the fun parenting where we work at making everyone feel equal and loved and safe and nurtured and special and like superstars! Sure……


          Lee says: I am the middle child of three kids. My older sister was well-behaved, a little bouncy and a good student. My little brother was the baseball playing, good boy with the nickname ‘Captain America’ which I, of course, gave him. Me? I was the class-clown and the kid who didn’t ever quite live up to her potential in class. Sure I was smart but I was having too much fun making faces and getting pulled in to see Sister Anne Marie, who I called SAM. I was the cut-up.


          My parents were the class clowns in their day. In a case of ‘pot calling the kettle pot’, my parents only appreciated success and good behavior. My mother, who has numerous stories of getting in trouble as a child because of joking around to pulling pranks to making fun of teachers, was the ultra-strict parent. My Dad, or as I called him ‘Fun time Daddy’, was just the jokester and was more lenient. What I came to understand as an adult was that Dad was very loving and nurturing but he left the tough parenting stuff to my Mom. So long story short, to return to the Cain and Abel metaphor, my offering was not favored by my parents. I was not the perfect kid. I was not the baseball player. I was not the kiss ass. I was the kid with the mouth.


          My relationship with my siblings was always close. I am 6 years younger than my sister and 8 years older than my brother. Still, we all get along. The secret? A loud Mother. My Mom encouraged us to be together and would always remind us of the following: ’When shit goes down, the only people in the world who will be on your side are your brother and sister (or just sisters, in my brothers case).’ She would also follow that up with a rant of some sort.


          Was there any rivalry? Sure. My Dad all but kicked me in the ass to boot me away when my brother was born. We noticed that Dad, who always was working, found time to be with my brother for every baseball game including coaching. Did I notice that I didn’t get a lavish Quinceñera like my sister? Sure. My sister had tapped the bank with her wedding and the most my parents could afford was another weekend in Las Vegas with a special treat of Jack Jones, singer of ‘The Love Boat Theme’, serenading there 15 year old daughter. I can’t make that shit up.


          The reality was that this was not my siblings fault. As in the case of Cain and Abel, God chose the favorite. The onus was on the Almighty. What we do is rage against the chosen and not the chooser. Getting angry with our parents is equivalent to parental suicide. If we do this, they will never love me. So we focus our energy at their favorite and try to tear them down.


          I am still very close with my siblings. I am blessed to have them and I would do anything for them. Did they receive our parents favor? Hell, yeah! However they would say I had way more fun than they did. In the end, I liked my end of the deal better.  


          Paul says: And she is still the class clown. I think that that is why I married her. There is nothing sexier than a night with stiletto heels, fishnets, bustier, multicolored hair, and a red nose. Go ahead and let the image settle in. Oh yes, sexy!

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