I don’t actually believe that I am my parents 3rd favorite child. It’s just something I say because it drives them crazy and I have quite a bit of anecdotal proof that it’s true. But just so we’re clear it’s not something I actually think.
I honestly don’t remember how old I was when this story took place, I guess I was about twelve but it’s totally possibly that someone in my family is going to text me and say I was ten or fourteen. If that happens I’ll let you guys know.
So to the story. It was summer break and my mom, my siblings, and I were at my cousin’s house for a visit. They had a swing set in their back yard which was cool, but they also had a swing that looked very similar to this:
and this was clearly the best swing.
Because we’d grown out of our savage phase the six of us (Patrick, Thomas, Noel, John, Colleen, and I) would decide on an order and take turns. The five of us would pull the one who’s turn it was back as far as we could and let them go until their momentum ran out, then we’d do it again, then it was the next person’s turn.
When the incident occurred we were: (a about to leave and b) I’d already had my turn so I wasn’t paying attention to what happened next. John says that it was his turn and Colleen swears that she had another push, ANYWAY they devolved into an all out brawl that was the kind of thing that they should have outgrown years before. Clearly we weren’t as far removed from our savage days as I thought.
Well they picked pretty much the worst time to get into it because mom was already on her way out to tell us to get our butts in the car, so she saw the whole thing. What happened next is the only reason I remember this story at all.
She pulled Colleen and me aside and laid into us about behaving appropriately and what not. All the kinds of things that a person who just got into a fist fight over a swing might need to hear, but certainly not the kinds of things that a person who was an innocent bystander needs to hear. When I pointed this out I was told that I should have stopped it. This is pretty much the most ridiculous thing that mom could have said. I wasn’t even standing there. There was nothing I could have done. To top it off she told us that we would not be stopping at the bookstore on the way home (which had been the original plan) but that we’d still be stopping to get John a video game. He didn’t get into any trouble. Actually he was hiding in the bushes listening to this whole exchange and laughing silently.
The point of me telling the tale of this gross miscarriage of justice is not that my mother loves my brother more than my sister and me, but rather that even is what made me realize that parenting is hard, and that sometimes you can have the best intentions in the world and still mess up. But it also reminds me that even the best parents make mistakes and still end up with awesome kids.
I hope you leave here laughing.