Some experts say that birth order can affect a person’s development. When Gloria Hannigan’s daughters give her a tour of their new house, it brings up an issue for her that she thought was long passed. Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns

By Gloria Hannigan

My daughters were showing me around the home they just moved into. They called one of the bedrooms, the “M” room.  “M” for Mattie when he spends the weekend; “M” for Mom when she stays over; and “M” for middle as it’s the middle bedroom.

After I returned home that word “MIDDLE” kept running through my mind. Middle room, middle class, middle child. Ah, that was what was nagging at me. Was there now a crack in my “Mother’s” armor, allowing the middle child to show through for the whole world to see, even my children?

Yes, I was a middle child, sandwiched between the firstborn, only son, who never did anything wrong, and the blonde, giggling, deep-dimpled baby girl. Once I was the baby, but it lasted only one year and four months, when I was suddenly bumped up under Wonder Boy and held there firmly by Golden Girl. 

I fought a constant battle to get out of the middle and move to the forefront. Regrettably my ammunition was sadly lacking.  I had find, straight hair that would not hold a curl no matter how my mother tried to set it, and believe me, she did try and try and try.

I had the Irish white skin that freckled and burned and peeled and burned again all summer long.  y scrawny body racked with a bronchial cough from November until the following April.

A weaker child might have just settled into the middle slot and made the best of it. But not I. I had an abundance of stubbornness and spunk which lasted me until I donned the armor of motherhood, where I had a throne that was mine alone.

Amy I now in danger of being ousted from this throne as my armor gets older and erodes around the edges? I’ll have to spend a night in the middle room and see if it caters to the mother, or the middle child in me, or maybe a little of each.