I didn’t like you for a long time. You were loud, domineering, you swallowed the whole room when you walked in with your demands, complaints – sometimes the best stories, of course I filled with envy. You were tiny, manicured, your hair was straight and you studied to be a doctor. You made me fetch you water and snacks, essentially, during the entirety of our childhood.
Then the other day when I was talking to you on the phone I realized…we keep the same schedule now. Instead of having long, vapid talks about make-up and clothes, we interject with grown up things:
Making a down-payment on a home.
Dealing with a bad boss.
Our medical concerns.
Your baby, Maria.
It’s just been funny being a middle child. But I am forgiving us for the sins of our childhood. Our ordeal has passed. I’m listening, because an older sister lives through everything for us first.
On the other side of this juggling act that is being a middle child is the “10-years-younger”, younger sister. The one who knows about selfies, Meghan Trainor and what it means to be firmly opinionated while she can. The younger sister who could school an adult heart with the passion for history and human rights, for feminism, for true love…while still rocking nailpolish and eyeliner. The one we can’t taint with reality checks, because it’s not even close to fair.
It’s just been funny growing up as the middle child.
And then our parents…themselves navigating the oncoming current of changes – I don’t blame them for taking a little respite at the courtesy of me – stuck and a little forgotten in the middle. Even when they picked me up late from school, or when Juju was young and full of ballet, swimming classes, play dates. I totally understand.
And still, middle is the loneliest word. A mediator. A pause. This balancing act.
The recipe for “Grown-up Grilled Cheese” has little to do with being a middle child or your pregnancy, but it has everything to do with getting gooey in the middle. I’m going soft, and wish I was there to touch your belly, to become the conciliator to yet another human being coming into the mix. Even to make you a snack, out of my own free will, when you have a craving…to dream about cuddling on the couch when Maria comes out (terrifying, wondrous thought) and learning more from her, and still, from you.
Here’s a gooey grilled cheese from a gooey, mushy sister full of love,