The Scenic Route: Day 10

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Photo by Dr. Robert M. Rogers

I am way too sensitive. 

This is not up for debate.

It’s a fact. I feel things deeply and I ponder things way too long. I spend too much time worrying about what other people might be thinking (truth is, you actually never know exactly what someone is thinking even if feel you are absolutely certain). 

There is absolutely no question that I am way too close to my mother. It’s not even up for debate. I spent the first few years of my life on her back, literally. Every time she put me down, I cried, so she put me in a baby carrier on her back and continued with her day. I have issues, but I wouldn’t change it, because I have spent some quality time and fostered a lot of grand memories of Mom by living with her everyday. We cook Blue Apron together and create great food, we go to the Opera, we watch EMPIRE (which is on tonight) and at the end of each episode she swears she’s never watching it again because it was too stressful.

But I wasn’t just the youngest child, I was the “second” youngest child. Linda, may she rest in peace, was the “first” youngest and established herself for about a decade as the precocious, quick-witted scene-stealer of the show.

By the time I was part of the cast of our Bizzarro Brady Bunch, there had already been years of drama and tragedy. There was Dad’s first marriage where my half-siblings entered the show, Janet Marie, followed by Robert M. Rogers Jr, and Linda (no middle name). Linda was the baby of the family for many years and then, in just a few, she went from the baby to the middle child, from Cindy Brady to Jan Brady.

As with most sit-coms, the cast changes over the years. On the Brady Bunch, as the youngest kids stopped looking as cute as they did the first year, they brought in a younger, pluckier, scene-stealing member to the cast, the infamous Cousin Oliver. 

I was the Cousin Oliver. 

I was the Scrappy-doo. 

I was Mearth.

I was added to the cast to add some zest to a well established show. 

But being the youngest in our family was like being the runt in the litter. If I didn’t eat fast enough, people were ready to eat off my plate. My Dad, who would wolf down his McDonald’s hamburger in 3 seconds, saw my French fries as free reign. Everyone else knew that if you wanted your fries, you better eat them fast. I couldn’t eat fast, so Dad inevitably ate my fries. Dad viewed it as as, he bought all this food so essentially it’s all his, and if he wants a few of my fries there’s nothing stopping him. 

Not only was there a competition for food, but there was a competition for Dad’s attention. Dad’s attention was the ultimate prize. I learned early that I couldn’t even compete with that. As a result, Dad was interested by me because I wasn’t really that interested in him. He was a busy man and had way more important things to be worrying about. And he kind of scared me. 

Again, I am too sensitive.

We got closer when he got sick. I moved back home from NYC and helped mom care for him. Now I’m taking care of Mom.

I will never have children, which is probably a good thing. My parents are kind of like my children. They took care of me when I was a baby, now I take care of them as their life comes to a close. They watched me grow, I watch them decline. My parents are like my kids that won’t grow up, as if they have a terminal illness. Like a good TV movie of the week or an after school special. 

Life is a terminal illness.

I am way too sensitive. 

But that’s how I am.

© 2014