With this week’s blog post, I’d like to move in a totally different direction and highlight that in just a couple of days, it will be National Middle Child Day. While I generally use this space to highlight the benefits of minimally processed nutrition to pets, the amazing work of our RAWZ Fund partners, or those who have joined us in our mission, I felt this was a needed detour.
In full disclosure, I myself am a middle child. My understanding and experience with the characteristics of birth order in families, and knowing that if not by me, the holiday would likely go unmentioned, compelled this post. Traditionally, the first born is a high achieving leader with the youngest the favored “baby”; leaving the middle child’s role undefined, dare I say forgotten. While I in no way feel neglected or invisible, the hard truth is that had my RAWZ teammate not pointed this holiday out to me, even I would not have known it existed.
While all families differ, with my family no exception, I must say, Aimee, Andy, and I seem to fit the birth order expectations for a three child family. Aimee, the eldest was a Valedictorian and three sport athlete, with Andy an adorable little guy with his Mickey Mouse glasses. As for me, let’s just say I always valued diversity when it came to grades, with 5 different letters often appearing on my report card. That’s not to say I wasn’t recognized scholastically, in fact, I believe Class Clown can be considered an award, right?
The bottom line is it’s not easy being the middle child. Suffocating under the pressure to succeed academically in the footsteps of Aimee, I worked hard not to set the bar too high for Andy. While I had no difficulty keeping my academics from shining too brightly, it always felt difficult to find the balance between excellence, or setting too high a standard for Andy, and being the proverbial cellar dweller.
While it serves no practical purpose to compare and contrast the successes of siblings; it is to be noted that I, the middle child, am the only of us who works at RAWZ. The reason that my parents gave me a job is hard to pinpoint. Whether it’s the diversity of schools and length of my college education, or the fact that both Andy and Aimee had already began alternative career paths upon RAWZ’s launch, what led them to hire me is anyone’s guess.
Regardless of what led to my hiring, let us all take a moment to pay some attention to the middle children among us. After all, like the middle seat in mass transit, the middle slot in birth order is not usually thought of highly. In fact, the holiday’s history even provides a glimpse at the experience of middle children. Began in the early 1980’s, National Middle Child Day was originally supposed to be observed on the 2nd Saturday each August. However, after realizing the high value of Saturdays, the powers that be decided to make August 12th the official holiday. Of course they didn’t want to waste a weekend day on us middle children, but to be honest, aren’t we all a little surprised that they didn’t choose February 29th?