I am a firstborn, the first of three girls. There are advantages galore in being a firstborn, it is said. "Oh, she'll grow up to be responsible!" said a fond aunt with stars in her eyes. Boy, did I grow up responsible! I can still hear the comments that assailed my ears when I was growing up. "That girl is responsible for having broken that new lampshade. She thought it was a hat and tried it on, but it slipped down over her eyes, and she bumped into a wall!"
The shade had cracked, the wall bore a brave scratch, but my poor head was given the royal ignore.After all, I was responsible.
My grandparents doted on me, as I was the first born of their first born, which made all the difference. My grandmother thought I was the perfect little cherub (and mind you, I did look like one with my rolls of fat and triple chins, when I was about two). She fed me pure white butter made from the creamy milk that was procured straight from the cows in our stables. Delicious, no doubt, but I turned into more of a cherub than before, and my classmates, all thinner than me, would point me out as 'that fat girl'.
One day, Grandpa came home early to hunt for some vital files concerning the house. He turned the whole place upside down, shouting at anyone unlucky enough to come before him. The servants, the grown ups, the other children and even the dog went round in circles, but the papers seemed to have disappeared into thin air. I sat on top of the dining table, looking as though butter wouldn't melt in my mouth.
Mom did not trust that look. "She is up to something!" she whispered to Dad. The papers were found in the wastepaper basket, torn to shreds. No one had the guts to tell Grandpa, but he found out soon enough, and roared,"Who is responsible for this?" Of course, I was, and when Grandpa realized that it was his little cherub, he bit back his anger and never referred to the matter again, much to the relief of his family.
First borns know exactly what they are doing. When I was seven, my little sister was born. It took me rather long to accept that the attention that I had enjoyed for so long was going to be shared with the tiny interloper.
One day, Mom came into the room, and there I was, sitting on the baby, while she howled lustily. A horrified Mom grabbed hold of me and gave me one tight whack.The little one stopped howling the moment the lard of flesh was taken off her.
In school, I was not just a leader, but a ring leader, with a gang of acolytes who followed my lead. We made paper planes and flew them around the classroom, we ate food from the more delicious lunch boxes, and talked in class incessantly till we were sent out of class. My report card had a line which proclaimed, "She has leadership qualities." My teachers hinted that I was like Hitler or Mussolini, and would probably end up like them, which did not thrill my parents one bit.
My littlest sister was born when I was ten, and by then I had realized that these two little creatures were in my life to stay. We had our scraps, they got me into trouble, one bit me on my stomach, the other refused to obey my orders.
Then, one day, I got responsible, instead of being responsible for everything. Love burgeoned in all our hearts and the two little creatures wound themselves around my heart. There they have remained over the years, and there they will remain for the rest of our lives!