How is that the oldest son, with a college degree, a kickass job in tech and the mane of a Greek God becomes the family’s black sheep?
By all accounts and purposes I should be the family’s Golden Child. I’m educated, have a great career and am quite independent. Yet there is a fleeting sense that out of my three siblings, I am the black sheep. And the more I think about it, the more okay I am with it.
If I wasn’t the odd on pick to be the Golden Child, then I should have at-least been the front-runner to be one of my parent’s favorites. Notably, my dads, right? As the oldest boy, I was destined to be my his favorite. I played soccer, I followed him everywhere and to many people, I was a mini version of my beloved and respected father.
So what happened? My sister was born and immediately became dad’s little girl. There goes my position.
My dad still talks to my 21-year-old sister like a princess. Meanwhile, I don’t think he’s called me by ANY name, let alone my name in years. I just assume that when my dad says “hey you, you uhh, my oldest son” that he’s taking about me. Sometimes my dad just whistles and waves me over. Hi dad!
I still have mom right? She should have a soft spot for her first born, right? Wrong AGAIN. My younger brother holds that title. Not only do my brother and mother look alike, but share a similar, emotional temperament, in stark contrast to my even keeled layout.
My mom and brother are incredibly close, as they talk often. They like to talk about feelings and share their emotions. Meanwhile, I prefer to bottle everything inside until I become either a literary rock star or an abusive parent. It’s really boom or bust for me.
I do wish I was closer to my mom, but I’ve always been a very independent person. My mom meanwhile, is still a worrywart and almost had a nervous breakdown when I left for Spain for 6 months. Apparently, she would have felt better if I had left to Barcelona with a place to live, and not had simply arrived in Spain with a 4-day hostel booked.
Being the oldest in a Hispanic household had other challenges two, namely harboring between two worlds. I was my parents link to a middle class, white world inhabited by sleepovers, play dates and a staunch anti-corporal punishment stance.
So everything was as new to my folks, as it was to me. And with most new things, it was scary sometimes for them and that meant that I couldn’t do a lot of activities, because my parents had no context or prior experience in anything middle-class America sees as normal. So in a sense, I rebelled by doing…what every other kid in a suburban town does…be a kid.
I also did things that weren’t the norm for Hispanic youth. For example, I moved away for college, 8 hours away to be exact. Had you been to my house during the last few days of me heading off to San Diego State, you would have thought that someone had died, as my parents, especially my mom where distraught.
My folks wanted me to stay local and go away, but I had other ideas. My mom would constantly bring up examples of children of her friends who stayed local so they could be closer to home. I replied by telling her of instances where friends I grew up with went to jail or joined gangs. So we’ll call it a draw.
She later confided in me that she had expected me to live at home until I got married. Haha. Good one mom.
The more I think about it, the more I think that maybe I’m not the black sheep. Maybe I’m just the product of being my parent’s first foray into their new homeland.
But even if I am the black sheep, I’m fine with that. Because that means that as the oldest brother, I’ve set a good example to my siblings.
Both my brother and sister are incredibly smart and set to graduate from San Francisco State. My brother is in the nursing my program and my sister is going to be a speech pathologist.
I could not be more proud of them. My brother possesses a brilliant scientific mind and he’s going to leave a legacy in the field of science and medicine. I’m certain of that. And as an emotional black hole, I have someone to talk to and confide in. Apparently talking about your problems or feelings isn’t “for pussies” as I had previously thought.
My sister Mary, the youngest of the three inherited both of my parent’s best traits. Like my father she’s incredibly social, very well liked and with a never-ending optimism. And like my mother, she’s compassionate, helpful and intelligent.
My brother and I often joke than we got the short end of the stick as Mary got the best of both worlds.
The three of us are within 4 years of one another and have become very, very close. That’s something that I’m really thankful for.
Both of my siblings are set to do great things, as the sky is the limit for them.
But one thing they’ll never have is my glorious, Greek God-like head of hair. I’ll keep that title.