He’s the first born. He’s easy-going and obedient and non-confrontational by nature. He had a bar mitzvah. He’s in medical school – which means he’s going to be a doctor. He has dimples.
It’s really no wonder the entire population of his grandparents’ retirement community in Florida knows his name. And his board scores.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Dave too. A lot. He’s a good kid, I’m a fan, yada yada.
But Dave’s family? They really like Dave.
I always suspected that he was the favorite child – a concept as foreign to me as obeying curfew in high school or attending a family vacation that doesn’t end in disaster. But I wasn’t really aware of how serious the situation was until we went to an honor society dinner for him earlier this month.
His grandmother insisted on coming in from Long Island for the event, a simple dinner at a local restaurant. The other set of grandparents had to be consistently assured that it really wasn’t worth it for them to fly in from Florida. There were tears of joy, words of praise. His Dad took a picture of the certificate he received. His mom told her hairdresser about it.
The pomp, the circumstance, the check inside the card his Florida grandparents sent after being barred from attending — it’s all totally unfamiliar to me, and not just because it’s been a long time since I’ve been to the Delray Beach Century Village. I’m pretty sure I took myself out of the running for Favorite Child status before my younger brothers were even born.
I’m not saying I’m a bad person. But we all have our defining traits, and mine are just not the kind that endear me to certain sections of the population, like: the elderly, parents of small children, or those that had to live with me during my teenage years. I’ve always been fiercely independent and have almost no self-filter. I speak my mind. And I can be a tad…uptight.
My middle brother, Jacob, is super laid back, which automatically makes him more pleasant to be around than me 99% of the time. He was a smiley baby who grew into a kid that rarely felt the need to talk back to my parents. (Talking back to my parents should literally be a category on my resume, I’m that good at it.)
And my youngest brother, Benjamin, despite occasionally acting like a prick sharing some of my Type A personality traits, is just much better at that whole perfectionist thing than I am. His accomplishments basically trump the fact that he can throw a temper tantrum with the best of them (aka me.) I’m pretty sure a decent number of his academic victories – being named saludatorian, actually working as a rocket scientist for the summer – are the result of an intense desire to spite Jake and me. But the fact remains: what he lacks in charm, he makes up for with achievement.
Combined, Jake and Ben basically put me in last place in our family’s Favorite Kid competition. I actually thought that this year might be an exception – with both brothers out of the country, I had to be a shoe-in for the award, right? But apparently absence really does make the heart grow fonder. I’m guessing it would take a move to Rwanda or Moscow for my parents to forget about that time I spit water in my mom’s face.
Or maybe, if I just stick with the affable, rule-abiding, bar-mitzvahed, doctor-to-be, one day, I’ll be Perfect by association. No across-the-world relocations required.