Parents. You can’t love them, you can’t hate them. As a younger sibling, the first few years of my life were bliss. Everything I wanted, I got. Everything I did not want, I got. My sister on the other hand, was not as lucky as me. I knew it, and I spent the first 12 years of my life taking advantage of that! I had great power, but not an ounce of responsibility. And then came my sister’s 10th grade and all the discussions about career options. Of course, as the younger sibling these conversations never required my insightful suggestions and so I kept out of them. The same thing continued for the next three years and then my sister was sent off to college. I now had possession of her room. I thought things would go back to the way they were, now that ‘career options’ were taken care of, but I was wrong. Very wrong.
Now not only did I have to bear the brunt of my parent’s bad moods all on my own, I also almost never got the attention I had before. All I ever heard was how ‘that poor kid must be suffering in college’ when in reality I was the only one who knew exactly how much she was ‘suffering’. In the first month she got an entire box of my mother’s homemade chocolate. In the second month she got a box of homemade sweets from my grandmother. Trust me, if those boxes were made available to the public, we would be millionaires (although I suppose everyone feels that way about their mom’s cooking). And while my sister got box-fulls of ecstasy, I lay in the background, feeling like a kid who had missed his bus. And this wasn’t even the worst part.
My parents had now crossed the hurdle of sending the first kid to college and this made the effects of old age evident on them. They now needed me to read their restaurant menus to them. They now needed me to repeat myself multiple times. They now needed me to remind them about their meetings, while they forgot parent-teacher meetings at school. I treated the entire process as some kind of punishment for what I had done earlier, and hoped and prayed that it would stop.
Here I am, one year after my sister has left for college. And while I make my way to the new Thai Restaurant, I think about how my parents had forgotten to attend the parent-teacher meeting that Friday, but I snap out of it when my father asks me to read the driving directions off Google maps because he left his glasses at home.