Being the third child is tough. Just ask my baby brother. He’ll tell you how he was left ALL THE TIME at school. (Um, once. And Mom has forgotten to pick up each individual child at least once.) He’ll tell you how I was the favorite because Mom bought me all kinds of things. (But I’ll tell you that he got to go out to eat more than I ever did.) He’ll tell you how our other brother was the favorite because he got to do more. (Usually because the other brother figured it was better to beg forgiveness than ask permission or just assume he had permission.) Yup, life is rough on a third child.
Ask him about how he was left at a casino.
“I got up to go to the bathroom, and when I returned, they. Were. Gone. The whole table! I looked everywhere for them. But they left me. They came back after like a half hour. They were always doing that.”
In reality, he went to the bathroom and never came back. We assume he didn’t go far enough into the restaurant to see us. After ten minutes, Dad was dispatched to find my baby brother. Dad returned to say my baby brother wasn’t there. The other brother was to wait at the table. My cousin and I were sent to go to the car and come back. My parents, aunt, and uncle split up to search the place. Someone found him after twenty minutes.
If you heard the story from his own lips, he would say it with such sorrow that you would assume he was a small, impressionable child, scarred by the cruelty of unthoughtful parents. He was twelve. Hell, I wandered away when I was two in Vegas. No emotional scars here.
But no matter, he was a good kid. And a great guy. Today he turns 27.
And two days ago was this conversation:
Mom: Your brother’s birthday is Wednesday. You need to do something nice for him because your dad is out of town and I have chemo.
Me: No problem.
The other brother: Yeah, Fae. I got the perfect gift if you want to split it. He’s what turning 25?
Me: Um, crap, no.
Mom: He’s turning 27.
Me: He can’t be that old.
The other brother: Really? 27? Wait! Hey, K (his wife), you’re not turning 27, are you?
So Happy Birthday, baby brother. (Even if you’ll never read this.)
(And I would insert a baby picture with his proud big sister holding him, except for this. Oops)