My mother was a second child who got revenge for the order of her birth as an adult. She hadan obsession for making sure my brother and I knew that we each got exactly the same size piece of cake, same dollars spent on school clothes, same number of presents under the Christmas tree. Married to a quiet firstborn, she was a bossy extrovert who liked attention. In any group of people she could find the friction points. She was creative and daring as a young woman as if dancing faster in higher heels could attract approval. She taught her children to shine, just not too much.
Studies call we second kids people pleasers, watchers of the big stage of life, undemanding. Our naps weren’t as important as our older sibling’s school pick up time, our accomplishments not nearly exciting as our parents watching first steps for the first time. We were born into already defined families and had to fit in. Makes a second child kind of puff up their chest and look somewhere else for the limelight. Maybe become a writer.
Career experts say second children are drawn to writing as a safe, rational way to express emotions. Editors tend to be second kids who make their living offering corrections. A Google search of twenty authors uncovered just two second-born children and a whole lot of firstborns, much like other careers. Interestingly my favorite author, Margaret Atwood, was one of those two.
Nothing one can do about when and how you came into the world. Some days it is just grand to have a rationale for why life has been frustrating that is out of your control. I wonder if literary agents are firstborns?