On Being a Middle Child

"Define something about yourself"

On Being a Middle Child

As our annual family picture day approaches, disputes about matching attire, scenery, or whether or not our pets will be included continue to dominate our dinnertime discussions. I’m not keen on, nor do I oppose, this occasion. Pose, say cheese, smile, click and it's over. Though, looking back on previous family photographs, there seems to be a pattern in each of them: not the awkward smile, nor the significant height difference, not even the chewing gum evident in my left cheek, but rather my spot that always remains wedged in between my two sisters and two younger brothers. Somewhere in between, a glimpse of a smile, neither haughty nor coy, is evident, but only just. It’s mine, indicative of my rank in the family. The middle child. Simply average. My life as a middling has been a journey through the obscurity of a middle child’s role, a struggle for recognition, and ultimately a pursuit of my own identity.

I cannot debate my second class status of being the middle child; mathematics would argue that three is the median of five, clearly placing me in the middle of my siblings. Thus, the responsibilities of an older sibling have long been unclear and the position of the youngest short-lived. With...

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