My new release, All He Ever Dreamed, is about Josh Kowalski, the youngest of five kids. He’s the baby of the Maine branch of the family and, when it came to that old “write what you know” chestnut, I blew it this time. I’m the oldest. And, not only am I the oldest, but I’m a Virgo, so I was pretty much born to be the the boss of all things.
Josh Kowalski doesn’t see much advantage in being the youngest. One by one, his older brothers and sister all left home, until he was the one left to help their dad run the Northern Star Lodge. Then, when their dad passed away, he just kept on running it. He never had the chance to leave their hometown and figure out what he wanted to do with his life. But at least he has older brothers like Mitch and Ryan to give him (usually) helpful advice.
On the other hand I never saw much advantage in being the oldest. It’s a lot like being a deputy mom, especially since my first sibling wasn’t born until I was six. That kind of age difference encourages babysitting and more responsibility and I didn’t approve at all.
But there was one perk—when in the car with only one parent, I always got shotgun and I didn’t even have to call it. That privilege almost made up for the many, many miles I spent sitting in the middle of the backseat, a younger sibling asleep against each shoulder. (They were very close in age, which leads to bickering, so I was apparently the neutral zone. A comfy neutral zone, handy for that impromptu car nap.)
Even now, at forty, I find those patterns are hard to break. Family will be coming from the midwest to visit this summer and they’ll be staying with my sister in Maine. Who’s doing the planning? Me. Because I’m the oldest. (And a Virgo.) And I still refuse to sit in the backseat.
How about you guys? Are you the oldest, middle, youngest, or an only child, and what’s your favorite thing about it?
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and riding her four-wheeler. She can also be found blogging (almost) daily on her website, www.shannonstacey.com and is often spotted running amok on Twitter, Facebook,and the Harlequin.com community. Her current release, All He Ever Dreamed, is available now from Carina Press.