Saturday, January 16, 2010

Planet Johnny

A few mornings ago, as usual, Johnny was dressed and ready for school before his brother and in time to play before catching the school bus.  Johnny gets the job done on school mornings.  He shoots straight upstairs after breakfast; chooses something to wear; gets dressed; and brushes his teeth.  No foolin' around.  No complaining.  There is no "just so" with Johnny.  He is happy to wear scratchy sweaters, bunched sleeves, and whatever outerwear comes his way.  Gloves in; gloves out; gloves on; gloves off.  Whatever.

As I was clearing the breakfast table, Johnny was flying a rocket ship around the kitchen making those sound effects that little boys make, and he asks me, "How many planets are ...um...how many planets are... in the....solar system?"  I tell him and he says, "That's not a lot."  He then flies his rocket a little further and asks me, "What if I don't land on a planet?" 

I hear Twilight Zone music and wonder what on earth he could be talking about.  Then I ask him, "Are you planning some space travel?"  (Turns out he was.)  "Yeah," he said.  "And what if my space shuttle breaks down and I don't have a planet to land on?"  By now it is time to go catch the school bus so I say, "I guess that's just one of the dangers of space travel."  Johnny replies, "It is?"  It must be.

And there you have a slice of Johnny.  He is creative, imaginative and a deeply thoughtful worrier. 

After Johnny was born and before I was pregnant with Sofia my Grandmother said to me, "If you are going to have more children, you must have two.  You do NOT want a middle child."   I hope it won't sadden Grandmom to know that the stork and I have spoken and he knows better than to visit our house again.  We will forever have a middle child and I am glad.
 
 I realize that I can't speak from a position of authority here because I am not a middle child.  I hear they have a tough row to hoe.  But I just don't buy that Johnny is destined for a life on the outskirts of Success City just because he entered the world after GJ and before Sofia.  And yet I do think it is fair to say that Johnny's dual role as GJ's little brother and Sofia's big brother gives him a unique burden.  I hope he will be the better for having learned to tell his well-intentioned big  brother to stop bossing him around and his little sister to quit tormenting him.  Johnny is his own wee man and his unique charms do not go unnoticed. 

Neither do the charms, wit, and successes of many middle children.  JKF, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, David Letterman and many other successful men were middle children.

Mine's going to the moon.

1 comment:

  1. I think that I may have visited Planet Johnny once or twice in my own live time. Great piece!

    Love
    Dad

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