Avoiding Crisis

accounting, sibling rivalry and a few nice words about the doctor

with 4 comments

For as long as I can remember, my father has called me the accountant of the family. This is not meant to be a compliment.

What he means by this is that I’m always watching and keeping track of what my brothers receive from my parents and insist on the same. And, when things are not equal, I make a fuss until they are. That, or I hold on to it and bring it up at a later date when I want something. They’ll tell you that I’ve done this with issues as small as food – I’d complain that my brothers had both eaten 3 cookies and I was only left with 2 – and as big as graduate school tuition.

This just isn’t true. I do not do this. Okay, so maybe once or twice I’ve done this. But, because of those few moments in which I demanded my fair share I cannot live down this role of being the family accountant. It’s like they think that I walk around with a ledger in my head adding up all the credits and debits and making sure that they all even out. I really think this is a gross exaggeration.

I’ve never liked the fact that my father has assigned me this role in the family dynamic. Would you? But if I am like this, as he and the rest of my family say I am, then I’d have to place part of the blame on him. See, we, the three of us, my brothers and I, we’re all super competitive people and it’s his fault. He made us like this. I think that my turning into the family accountant is my way of making sure that the playing field is level and that we all are always starting off with the same advantages and disadvantages. And when we’re not I protest. Or something like that.

One of the reasons I think this bothers me so is that I feel as though my family thinks that it’s the material things in life that matter to me most. But this just isn’t the case.

This Nicole-as-accountant issue makes me think a lot about family dynamics and sibling rivalry/competition.

I’ve had very different relationships with both my brothers. I’m crazy super competitive with my older brother (though he’ll tell you that he’s not, nor has ever been, competitive with me and it’s just a one sided deal) and not so much with my twin.

I have a theory as to why this is the case.

As I’ve mentioned once before, my twin brother was labeled as learning disabled (LD) at a very young age. Because of this we were never competitive academically. ‘Cause seriously, that would have been a mean and unfair comparison. Also, his eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills kinda sucked as a child, so he wasn’t the best at sports. As a result, no one really compared our achievements and/or our failures and really neither did we. (At least I didn’t. I can’t speak for him though.) Maybe this was because of him being labeled LD or maybe this was just our parents design to keep the sibling rivalry at bay, though I seriously doubt it. Now don’t get me wrong, we fought like cats and dogs. We physically fought, ran around the house wielding knives and other sharp instruments, threatening each other on many the occasion. But we really weren’t and still aren’t competitive. When he got a higher score on the SATs than me I didn’t feel the need to retake the test to beat him, nor did I feel disadvantaged because he was able to take it un-timed. It’s just how it is.

Now saying all that, I feel the need to point out, that after all is said and done, my brother is SO NOT learning disabled. I mean, technically he is, but a double major in Economics and Political Science, a master’s degree in Public Policy and graduating at the top of his class from a prestigious University with advance skills in statistics learning disabled does not make.

On the other hand, there is the doctor. The doctor and I are much much more alike than my twin and I and therefore we fight a lot more. Well, we used to fight a lot. Now we don’t fight at all. In fact, we get along great.

However, unlike my twin and I, the doctor and I were always compared to each other. Everyone compared us – relatives, teachers, friends, etc. When it came to school, sports, social situations, it didn’t matter we were compared. For instance, I always knew that the doctor was naturally smarter than me but I was a harder worker when it came to school.; that I had more raw athletic talent but he worked his ass off on the sports field. Though, for all our similarities, we do have some major differences. I’m emotional, he’s rational. I’m irrational, he’s practical. I’m sensitive, he can be a bit indifferent and/or unsympathetic. All in all, he’s a pretty cool guy.

Really, I have two great brothers. I feel fortunate for this.

As I’ve grown and matured, I’ve realized that it’s very important to be proud of your siblings and to boast about their accomplishments. While it may be easier comparing their achievements to your own, boosting your ego when you have something or have accomplished something that they haven’t or feeling crappy when the tables are turned. It’s so much more rewarding to be a doting sister.

So please, bear with me a moment, while I dote.

When the doctor applied to medical school many years ago, like most, he faced the harsh reality of the tough competition for acceptance. Wait listed at his top choice he was finally accepted the day before orientation. He excelled in medical school. No one ever doubted this. He’s a smart guy. Six years ago he started his residency. That residency ends today.

A few weeks ago there was a dinner held for the “graduating” residents. At this dinner he was presented with an award for outstanding clinical competence for all graduating residents of all programs at Downstate Medical Center. Apparently it’s kinda a big deal. Not bad for a guy that was wait listed for medical school and almost didn’t go. I’m pretty darn proud of him. We all are.

But getting back to the whole accounting issue. I don’t like being called the family accountant. Can you tell? And maybe, now, Dad, you’ll stop describing me as such. And maybe you’ll see that my accounting is just a manifestation of my own insecurities. That I’m just one of the kids, who sometimes gets a little bit jealous, and wish that she could be more like her brothers, and achieve as much as her brothers have in their lives. And maybe sometimes, just sometimes, I think, even if it’s in error, that I need a little extra help to be as great as them.

Anyway, enough about me. Congratulations Michael! We are all very proud of you.

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Written by nicolemarie

June 15, 2007 at 10:08 am

Posted in brothers, family, personal

4 Responses

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  1. This is a sweet post. And that is a great accomplishment – congrats to him!

    My parents have 4 children. At my wedding, my dad said during his toast that I am their “high-maintenance child”. Uh. . .Okay.

    Dawn

    June 15, 2007 at 1:28 pm

  2. Nice write up Nic. Congreats to Mike on the award, we are so proud of our big brother!!!

    As for the accountant, yeah you do that, but as always I get the short end of the stick, but so is life being the middle child 🙂 Just Kidding.

    We are very proud of you as well, you have done great things. Living around the world, raising 2 great kids, and having some fun and interesting jobs! And of course writting this interesting blog. I think our 30’s are going to be very fun for both of us, as I become an elected official and you continue to be an amazing mom, and continue on your career path, and maybe publish a book or two!

    Mark F

    June 15, 2007 at 2:03 pm

  3. Coley, OK, OK, no accountant refrences any more. Daddy

    JJF

    June 16, 2007 at 5:44 am

  4. thanks nic for the kind words. I don’t think i’m as cold of a person as you make me out to be.

    mikef

    June 16, 2007 at 6:06 pm


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