I am the fifth of six children. The classic “forgotten middle child”? I’ve spent most of my life complaining about how strict my parents were, how I was hard done by, etc. etc. But, in truth, I have been richly blessed.
1. My parents lived for their children. They scrimped and saved for us. They ensured we got excellent educations. I threw tantrums because they made me study when I wanted to watch TV – at 13, I thought I’d die if I didn’t get to watch Mission Impossible. Twenty years later, when I saw Mission Impossible on Nick-At-Nite, I found myself saying,”This is what I threw fits about?”
2. My older brother and sisters insist that my younger brother and I had it easy compared to them. Perhaps. I now know, however, that my parents only sought the very best for us and what I saw then as rigid authoritarianism was, in fact, determined love.
3. Growing up in an Irish family meant that there was lots of genuinely funny stuff going on. The wit and repartee, at times, were wild. Centuries ago, the British may have stolen our land and our language but they couldn’t put a dent in our wit and ironic sensibility.
4. We had an eccentric Great Aunt who would suddenly swoop down upon us with gifts of exotic [for Ireland] foods and lots of other treats. She brought color and vibrancy into my life. Her more sedate sister was a constant source of help and support to me.
5. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such wild joy as when I held my nephews and nieces in my arms for the first time. I adored them – and still do. It amazes me that they now have children of their own. I am so old.
What about your family are you most grateful?