Sunday, November 11, 2007

Life in the Middle

The authority structure according to Neti:

"Neti and Meke are no boss"
"Kailey, a little bit boss."
"Bethany, a little bit bigger boss."
"Mommy and Daddy big boss."
"And God is BIG BIG boss." (said with eyebrows raised and arms outstretched)

She's been able to verbalize it for a few months now. However, living under such structure is something she's now beginning to struggle through.

There was a time when Neti occupied the office of "a little bit boss". In fact, there seems to be a time in her not too distant past where she was "big boss". The circumstances that led them to the orphanage thrust Neti into the role of Mom - protecting, making decisions for, and watching out for little sis. (Thus the commonly heard phrase directed toward the 6-year-old at the Waal house: "You just worry about Neti.")

Bethany and Meke are still oldest and youngest sisters, respectively. They've faced the adjustment of adding two new sisters. But Neti and Kailey have faced the most radical change in birth order. They're fighting for territory unfamiliar to them, trying to figure out their new identity in the family.

When there's a conflict among siblings in our family, it's usually a power struggle in the middle of the hierarchy - Kailey and Neti. Sometimes it can be very heated. And whoever is determined the "winner" (which often involves parental intervention) is left scratching her head as to the territory she's reclaimed. It's confusing territory neither has occupied before. Middle sister.


At 8:13 AM , Anonymous Kelly Yak said...

I feel your pain girls.

At 6:40 PM , Anonymous Laura S said...

Funny but I felt the same thing!

At 10:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for this. We leave saturday to pick up our two girls and will be watching the adjustments of the two "old" girls and two "new" girls...and I was thinking the middle is where the action would be....


At 9:16 PM , Blogger Amanda said...

This is so good! I love how you articulate things..with such love and optomism...Even seeing humor, yet compassion with their struggles.
Being middle is the HARDEST place to land in the birth order. I was a middle sister...all rights are gone! :) I feel for them both...


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