Is It Perky Being The Baby?

I blame my family for many things in my life. I blame my parents when people walk over me because they raised me as a polite and considerate person. I blame them for the lack of clothes due to the many hand me downs I still crave for. My brother kindly commented at my wedding that I only ever needed to grunt in the relevant direction of what I wanted and it was given to me. Although it is well-known that the youngest in the family is the easiest existence, this is not necessarily a reality.

Being the youngest in the family has meant that I remain just that. The youngest. It does not matter that I am married or how many children I may have. It doesn’t matter how far I travel; how much I see of the world, I will never be able to shake off the stigma of being the youngest, particularly of siblings who are much older than myself.

My parents owned and ran a shop when I was younger, a child’s heaven with all the free access to sweets you could possibly imagine. I was often the one cajoled into hiding Mars bars down my tights, chewing gum in my mouth (so much so that my cheeks puffed out) and on one occasion even being caught red-handed and puffed-cheeked by my father and to this day am still unclear whether he ever realised I was being the “good girl” and in essence doing as I was told.

To this day, family dynamics have not changed much and it is only when I express my own opinions and desires for the future that discord envelopes. Then again, if I was not strong enough to leave the bossom of my protective, pampered bubble as the youngest, I would never have travelled to Iran and would never have married my lovely husband and found the happiness I now enjoy.

Many ‘youngests’ in the family live in the shadow of their siblings, but I am happy to state I never felt that way. At least not in the traditional sense. I felt growing up that it was my responsibility to make up for my sibling’s mistakes and misdemeanour’s. Fortunately, the most misdemeanour they committed was not attending University. Although I was never forced by my parents, I subconsciously felt I had no choice.

Having said this, the twenty-nine years of fighting to secure a place in the family has given me the understanding and purpose as the family champion of the underdog. As with everything, life is what you make it. It is up to you to carve a niche for yourself. Again as with everything, being the youngest in the family has both its advantages and disadvantages but it is up to you how these will shape your life. For me the best thing about being the youngest is the time I have had with my parents, alone. I have enjoyed precious years with both when I have not had to share them with my siblings. I have enjoyed a special bond with them that I would not change for anything. I may have been the only pupil in my school with only their surname stitched into their uniform (my mother having unstitched my sister’s Christian name), but I was never short of toys to play with or indeed playmates. In the words of Martin Mull, US comedian and actor, ‘having a family is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain’, and the best thing is earning that coveted strike and ultimate acceptance as an adult.

Being the youngest is not so bad after all.


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