In my experience, people seem to grumble at the icebreaker “What is a fun fact about yourself?” I rotate my response in a more formal setting, but a random hot take I share with those close to me is that I love being a middle child.
Does this qualify as a hot take? Or is it just odd? I am not sure. I do not anticipate much surprise considering those I am close to know that I have a tight-knit family. But for readers who do not know me super well, here is a small window into my thoughts.
I owe much of the credit to my parents for giving me and my sisters equal attention as opposed to the typical middle-child-is-left-out dynamic. I am incredibly grateful for the support they gave each of us to develop our own unique strengths.
If people ever inquire as to why I hold this hot take, my default answer is that I love being a middle child because I have the best of both worlds. I can take what I have learned from my older sister and apply it to my relationship with my younger sister. For example, Elizabeth taught me that being a patient and calm listener can go a long way — there is no point in blowing up an argument when that person was likely just having a bad day. A more fun example of something I was able to learn and pass down was a love for our Home Under the Dome. I am two academic years apart from each of my sisters, so I will always have a sister here as long as I am at Notre Dame. More specifically, Elizabeth looped me into joining HerCampus when I was a first year, and I then encouraged Clare to apply this past fall. To see the progress that this chapter has made since I first joined in the fall of 2018 is terrific.
Holding this most-definitely-coveted middle spot also taught me compromise. A more lighthearted example being,
“Why am I in the middle seat? I have the longest legs.”
“I don’t know. You’re the middle child?”
That seemed to suffice. And now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure this was under five years ago, and Clare and I are the same height.
But I would be remiss not to thank Clare for teaching me to be direct in communication and to stand up for what I believe in. Not only in car seating arrangements, but also in life — allowing my words and actions to reflect my true self.
Being a middle child makes me feel like I am on a team. This was especially easy in my family because my sisters and I are each less than two years apart. Having grown up playing sports, I’ve always enjoyed the camaraderie and support of my teammates. I’ve learned when to step up and when to let other people take charge. Relationships are a give-and-take matter; you have to be okay with both. With the COVID-19 pandemic, working as a team meant learning to delegate who had control over the TV remote and the kitchen speaker and whose turn it was to walk the dog.
Jokes aside, thank you to my understanding, supportive, wise and fun family for teaching me these skills.