I’ve never been notorious. Whoa.
I’ve always been the little brown mouse in the corner. I had friends who were the “stars” – when they entered the room at a party, everyone noticed. Me, on the other hand, not so much. I was in the corner, watching.
I was a theater major, techie, not actor. I built the sets, designed the costumes, the makeup, the masks. I was the prop master, the stage manager. I gave people lines. Dressed all in black, silent and unnoticed when successful. Didn’t mind it; enjoyed it. Played poker with the other stagehands; won more than my share.
I was the second child of two in my family. My older brother was intelligent, over-achieving and, most importantly in pre-feminist America, male. I was good, dutiful and not allowed to color outside the lines or be too proud of myself. And then I married a man who saw me the same way.
I was the sidekick of the luscious, beautiful girl. Straight man. Rhoda to Mary Tyler Moore. Notorious? Not me.
And then, I birthed her, that Meredith. I’m still playing straight man, only also guardian, protector from herself, disciplinarian, chauffeur, maid-servant and keeper.
It remains entertaining. And educational.
I do have two other “blood” children and two more “steps.” All wonderful and alternately the best one. They are all getting t-shirts for Chanukkah that say “I’m Mama’s favorite.” And they all deserve that appellation, at one time or another.
And then I have canine children. I had one of those before I had human children. The person who felt most like a sister to me as a child was my dog Babo. Then my husband and I acquired Boo soon after we married, but we waited six years for our first child of the human sort. I’ve liked my four-legged children more consistently than I have the two-legged ones. You’ve seen photos of my Biko and my Kiba on Meredith’s blog. You must admit they are extremely fine-looking children. And then there’s Sam, who is fine looking but not very well-behaved.
I suppose I continued my second-banana status intentionally, or because it felt familiar. But now I have a husband to whom I am the center of the universe, however crazy, and my children see me as an essential element of their sense of themselves. So I find myself in late middle age finally developing a sense of myself unrelated to how the external world sees me.
And I’m having a damn fine time.