From Our Readers
August 12, 2015 7:13 am

Today is National Middle Child Day, the one day a year when we celebrate the joys and pains of being stuck in the middle. Being a middle child means frequently being stereotyped as the ignored, brooding, black sheep of the family. Basically, we’re pegged as the Slytherins of siblings. But if you’re really a middle child, you understand your role is actually wildly character-building in so many ways.

You discovered your passion in your own way. As a middle child, you probably had to work hard to discover and develop your talent, as you didn’t often get the praise your older sibling got for making honor roll, or your younger sibling got for scrawling a Crayola stick-figure. Instead, you spent long hours alone, exploring new and unique passions until you found one that stuck with you—and then you went after it.

You had ample time without parental interference to daydream about your future success. And when it came time to make that success a reality, you surprised everyone by pursuing your talent full-throttle and excelling in your field. Because you never had the opportunity to be the complete center of attention, you relied on your own interests and instincts to take you where you want to go. Own it, and keep on inspiring!

You learned about loyalty early on. You were always, literally and figuratively, stuck in the middle. You didn’t rat out your older sister when she snuck out past curfew and you helped your little brother hide the evidence when he broke one of those dishes your mom really loved. You know where your loyalties lie, and because of this, you are an amazing friend. You’re a secret-keeper, you’re an award-winning listener, you don’t judge, you’re forgiving (sometimes to a fault), and you’re there when you’re needed—no matter what. Although you’re inclusive and may have friends in all different groups, you don’t play favorites and they know that. You’ve worked hard to be a good friend, because you know what it’s like to be excluded. Your friends, like your family, feel fortunate to have someone like you in their lives—don’t forget that!

You realize life isn’t fair, but you still feel compelled to step in and attempt to right wrongs you know are undeserved. You can’t stand to see someone getting in trouble when you know they’re innocent, and you’d rather not get involved in arguments that require you to take sides.

You’re all about balance. You probably have a sympathetic heart because, in a way, you can relate to the underdog. And even if your sweetness and good-nature are sometimes masked by your tough exterior, don’t ever be afraid to lend a helping hand or a listening ear to someone you think might need it. (Just think how much those small, yet significant gestures meant to you when you felt ignored.) Your strong and sensitive nature is why you are loved and admired—accept both sides and let them shine!

You get the best of both worlds. Perhaps the most rewarding part of being the middle child is the logistical business of actually being the middle child. You are the only one who gets to be a big sibling and a little sibling. You’re the only one who can be utterly embarrassed by your big brother’s stories of your childhood and, in turn, embarrass your little sister with stories of your own. You’ve been counseled and you’ve given counsel, felt loved and given love, and you’ve been hurt and inflicted pain right back. But through it all, you cherish your place in the family because you know you’re the only one who is able to fill that position. Your unique role doesn’t make you the odd-one-out or the black sheep; it makes you lucky.

Tina Wargo is an elderly soul, a student of film, a player of ukulele, a lover of story, a scream-singer of showtunes, only okay at sharing, usually ranting, and an all-around parody of herself. Follow her on Twitter @tinawargz.

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