Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Downside

After living two houses away from each other all their lives, Precious Daughter and the Blonde-Haired Girl have become pretty good friends. Whether this is simply a product of being separated from school-year friends or the beginnings of a really good thing remains to be seen. She seems like a nice kid, and I certainly hope they remain good friends for a long time.

The downside: Mighty B. We don't have a boy his age two houses away any more. For a while, our neighbors had their daughter and grandson living with them while their son-in-law was in basic training, and it was wonderful. They played constantly.

Mighty B. is feeling left out, and I'm feeling like an ogre. On one hand, I can't stand his being excluded by his sister and her new friend. On the other, I understand the girls' need to be by themselves without a pesky little brother tagging along.


It also reminds me of my own childhood. I didn't have many friends either. When my older sisters would go out, they were often saddled with, "Take your little sister!" I can't imagine what my mother thought the result would be. Would forcing me into their company make them want me along? Ummm... no. I was probably sent along as more of a deterrent to bad behavior, because (as much as I hate to admit it now), I didn't really learn that I could keep secrets from my mother until I was fifteen or so.

(Edited to add: I suddenly recall my very first screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. My sister, V, was going with her friends, and my mom whacked her from behind with "Take your sister!" I spent the movie in a state of perplexity. I didn't "get" the audience participation end of it, and I was thoroughly annoyed at my inability to follow the plot of the movie from all the shouting. Oh, and I was utterly agog with V's and everyone else's ability to fluently drop obscenities on cue. A year and a half later, my friends were going and I was probably more enthusiastic than V was.)

Whatever Mom's goal, the end result was my sisters' resentment at their lack of freedom in my presence and my feeling awkward at being forced into a situation where I wasn't always welcomed.

Fortunately, Mighty B. is still too young for that swirl of emotion. At the ripe age of almost six, he still believes that the world adores him and that it is his oyster for the taking, even if that oyster is full of Barbie dolls, Polly Pocket, and cheerleading pompoms.

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