Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: Spring training is upon us!

Rockin' and rollin'

Rockin' and rollin'
The author of Mark's Work

Coleus flowers

Coleus flowers
Why I grow flowers

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast
Love is the greatest power.

Beauty abounds!

Beauty abounds!
Heinz tomatoes, used for catsup

If you've seen one butterfly, you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.

If you've seen one butterfly,  you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.
Painted Lady

Fall Jewels

Fall Jewels
Praying mantis, attending services on a zinnia...

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017
Something I have always wanted...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Middle of What?

The Middle of What?
I read a comment the other day in which the writer mentioned being a middle child.  In the middle of things is generally perceived as a positive thing, because who wants to be on the outside, looking in?  I have three older brothers and three younger brothers, which is right in the middle of seven sons, with two “little sisters” mixed into our family baseball lineup of life.
Having three older brothers while growing up, is like having three directors running the show.  Oldest brother Eric was unquestionably the leader, already taller than the rest, and accustomed to being at the helm of the ship (rowboat?).  Brian was the smartest, the vowels of his first name having been accidentally reversed on his birth certificate, but Noel was the funnest, the one most likely to direct both of us into trouble. 
Competing with those three guys, along with the usual competition encountered when younger siblings arrived on the scene, was a full-time job, and one that Mama reports in my baby book, that I pursued diligently.  
“Look at me!” was what it was all about.  I used to play this very fun (read, obnoxious) game called, “Touch me in five seconds I will...” fill in the blank with any of the following:  “...give you a quarter...give you a dollar..give you a million dollars...” and the winner... “do the dishes for you tonight...do the dishes for you for the rest of your life...”
The resulting chaos of kids springing up from all over the room, from [mostly younger] siblings, was enough to bring me into focus all right, but not in a favorable way.  Eric christened me Clown, or Clownie; Brian called me Babe or the Babe, and there was no connection to baseball; Noel to his credit, called me Markus Aurelius, since he was no one to be bandying pejorative terms about, having established new horizons himself, as far as mischievous behavior is concerned. *
When you talk about the middle, there are many negative connotations.  Consider “middle brow” as lacking in intelligence or sophistication; “middle of the road” as someone who can’t make up her/his mind; “middle class” as someone who has crawled out of the lower echelon, but not made it to upper class yet; “middle name” as the unimportant one, the one that Mama’s maiden name always ends up attached to in some poor kid’s name.  And how about middle-aged spread?  There’s an uplifting thought.  
Then I chose a career in the middle school, working with kids who were caught in the middle of being children, and being adults.  It was a crystal clear case of the blind leading the blind.
Tack on the “middle of the pack,” the “middle of nowhere,” or the “middle of the pile,” and it spells average at best, and mediocre at worst.  I spent a lot of my younger life looking for the real me.
Now that I have found him, he is no longer willing to be in the middle.  He wants to be at the edge.  He feels that if he is in the middle, he is taking up too much space.  But there’s plenty of room on the edge, if you care to join me.
*  See my blog under July for Fellowship Street: Sound the Alarm    and   Fellowship Street, The Plum Tree 

8 comments:

  1. I'm a middle child too. Your older brothers sounded merciless! You must have had a fun childhood!

    As for living on the edge, I try to stay as far away from the edge as possible. It's much safer in the middle, and you can find as much excitement and adventure because you have two sides to look at instead of one side and the bottom of the cliff :)

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  2. Judy: Good news on the cliff action: no cliffs, just the edge of the "herd" so there is actually more room on the edge than in the middle.

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  3. Yes, Judy, if you think his older brothers were merciless, think what he did to the one directly below him - the one who is really in the middle - four older bros, three younger bros, and one younger sister.

    I wish I could be on the edge these days. The middle is too safe, too humdrum. Edges are exciting and can be an adrenaline rush. AHHHHH!

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  4. Yes the edge, now that's the place to be. You get to look over the cliff and see the heights to which you have aspired, and the view out to never never land. I am glad that you have decided to move on out and seek a perch that is more fulfilling and fun to boot. In terms of the middle, don't forget that in the 'middle" of every peanut butter and jelly sandwich is the delicious berry jam; something we couldn't life without. Mark, you may have been in the middle, but we couldn't have lived without you!

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  5. Yes, the berry jam of life. I can wrap my little pea brain around that concept. Thanks, Noeli, for the reminder that when we were kids, it was a lot easier to please us.

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  6. I'm with Noel--before we dismiss the middle too soon, let's not forget all the things that would be so much less without the middles. Just for starters Oreos and stories (beginnings and endings are great but the middle is the meat, right)?

    As the oldest, I've come to appreciate my middle siblings, without whom I would've only be the oldER of two. :)

    I think it's only appropriate that a comment on a post about childhood/family placement has a word verification of "bratini." Reminds me of the time I called Baby Brother a "little brat" and he replied, "I'm NOT little!" That he was a brat was apparently not in doubt, even to him. ;)

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  7. Masked Mom: That anecdote made me laugh out loud. A clear case of a battle being fought when the outcome of the war was already established.

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  8. What nice siblings you have.
    I am a middle child and very thoroughly so. It has been and inescapable task for me even in adulthood to mediate, placate, balance and make peace. Not a terribly bad place to be most of the time. Of course, I really don't know any different.

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