As the only girl in the family and the youngest child, one would think I’d be pampered, spoiled and protected. Oh no. Not so. In fact, with two older brothers, I constantly was the object, or should I say target, of their (negative) attention. I’m sure anyone with older brothers, or probably younger ones too, can relate.
They had “boy” toys which I craved, if only to make a fair fight. The worst was their ping pong rifles. What were my folks thinking??? These were air-fire rapid-repeat rifles holding 5 or 6 ping pong balls (although it felt like quite a bit more). I was THE moving target! How I longed for one of those or at least dreamed of destroying theirs. It would be pretty obvious who would have been the culprit so I kept that idea to myself. Then there were those toy paper-thin wood airplanes that you put together. Well, they put together, not me. They would assemble, then fly, aiming at me!
My brothers had the most awesome train set. My dad built the platform and it was truly to die for. Each had their own train – the kind that whistled and smoke came out of the stacks. There were mountains, and lakes, and milk cars that really stopped to load and unload and crossing gates that really worked and and and… The boys would play for hours. I watched. I was never allowed to play with those dang trains. The upside was that I always knew what to get them for Christmas: something to add to their beloved train set.
They had erector sets and Lincoln logs and shiny guns with real leather holsters and all that oh-so-cool “boy” stuff.
Me? I had dolls. I’m not complaining about dolls. I loved dolls and played with them for hours. I still have a doll dresser and bed that has been handed down from generation to generation to generation. I cherish that. So basically I had doll stuff and pretend kitchen stuff and dress up stuff.
But those trains. . . sigh.
For years, anytime we took a car trip, whether it was to church or the beach, the boys decided to use “manners”. “Ladies first”, they would always say, laughing as they each held open a back car door. Therefore, I’d be stuck in the middle of the back seat in between them! Arghhhh. Finally, after years of that torture, my mother took up residence in the middle of the back seat.
If something wrong happened in our house, if a dastardly deed occurred and no one would admit to being the culprit, my parents would line us up and ask “who did it”? As if on key, both my brothers would turn and look at me and I would turn beet red; you know – that shade of “guilty, hand caught in the cookie jar” shade of red! Even if I had not been the perpetrator, I’d eventually admit to it because I had no recourse. No one believed me. I was doomed.
I’m sure this type of childhood helped shape me as a mother. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, how I applied all of my knowledge and experience, but it’s too late now. I can assure you, however, that there was never a ping pong rifle in our home. 🙂