When I was eight I remember being on the business end of an ass whooping and as I cried myself to sleep I vowed to be a better Dad than what I got stuck with. FYI: Dad delivered said ass whooping right after I burned down our basement. Feel free to judge.
Nothing beats your first born male child. My favorite story about Brian is when I drove him to take his SAT’s. He was ten. Him and about a dozen overachieving munchkins were mixed in with the regular batch of seniors who gave him the “What are you doing here?” When the scores came back he scored higher than I did when I was 17 and I was no slouch. He turned down a free ride to Duke to go to Appalachian State University. Because “she” was there. They married and now have a marriage that most people can only dream of. Especially, me.
Tim exists because I didn’t want Brian to be an Only Child. Brian got all the credit for being the First Born Wunderkind but truth be known, Timmy is smarter than his brother but keeps it hidden under a basket. Apparently, this is typical of “Middle Kids”. I am an Only Child and sibling interaction is like science fiction to me. I’ve gotten better over the years and can observe and predict some of if , but I’ll never understand it. When Tim was about five he came to me crying and snitching that Brian had hit him. Brian put up a stern defense and since I had not witnessed this grievance I was at a impasse. Tim did have a a bruise so I told Brian that if he had hit his brother it was only fair to have Tim hit him back. Tim’s eyes lit up with glee as Brian’s was a vision of horror. Smack! “Why did you hit your brother?”, I asked Tim. “Brian, hit him back”. After a couple of rounds of arm punching they didn’t want to do this anymore. I told them that if I had a brother I’d never hit them and they shouldn’t hit each other either. When Mom got home I caught Hell. “Why did you make the kids fight each other?” Whoops.
Having a daughter changes your life on a dime. I didn’t know that the outfit had to match the diaper bag. I always threatened the boys when they acted up that I’d make them a sibling who was cuter and smarter. Little did I know I did just that. Rosie’s Mom was Mrs. Chamberlain 2.0. She has four brothers. When she was a baby I watched a fist fight break out when one of Tim’s friend tried to change her diaper. Rosie is the smartest one of the litter. She met Brian when she was four and I had five bucks riding on her to win the battle of wits. Winner! To this day she wrangles her brothers like a lion tamer. But woe betide the one who threatens their little sister. I truly pity her first boyfriend when he comes along.
I Love all my children dearly and treat them as individuals. Each of them in their own way is my favorite. Through two divorces and thousands of miles I have the family that I wished for when I was eight. It’s not the family I planned for when this all started but it’s one I wouldn’t trade for the World . Every Father’s Day I pray that I’m the Dad they deserve.