When talking about my family, siblings and birth order invariably come up in conversation.
Ever since my older sister Ellen died suddenly two years ago, so much has changed. That includes the “birth order” convo.
Now, when it comes up, I now find myself reaching an an awkward intersection inside my brain–every time.
I’ve always been interested in the subject of birth order, and eventually bring it up with all my friends and colleagues. (How could you not be?)
“I’m one of eight kids; five brothers and two sisters. I was fourth,” I say. Sometimes, I’ll add in a p.s.—“I was the quintessential bitter middle child.”
Other times, when reminiscing about my father, I’ll share this anecdote: “My dad was a lawyer, and absolutely loved it. He wanted all eight of his kids to be lawyers, too. He’d tell me, ‘Lefty, there are so many f**** a******* who are lawyers. You can be one, too.’” (Was that a compliment or an insult?)
I then go on to say that he ended up with four lawyers out of 8— 50%; not bad at all. And it’s at that exact moment that I now pause and mull it over in my mind: Should I add the caveat?
I am one of eight—but now we are seven. He did have four kids who grew up to be lawyers–but now there are three.
A little over two years ago, our sister Ellen Marguerite O’Hara, died suddenly. Getting used to speaking of her in the past tense?
It’s taking longer than I’d anticipated.