This past Mother’s Day, I rode my bicycle two cities over, slicing through humidity and foreboding; both of which felt so thick and heavy that I may as well have been treading water. Despite this, I was resolved to reach my destination and pay my dues. I was headed to my mother’s house to visit with her and three of my four brothers. This was because, essentially, the calendar told me that I should.
Bear was in from Gainesville, where he’s recently begun medical school at the University of Florida. Bear will be the second of my mother’s children to become a doctor. He is her third-born child.
My brother Paul, is already a practicing Pediatrician living in Kansas City, Missouri with his wife and children. Paul is her second-born child and the first of my mother’s children to become a doctor. As far as birth order is concerned, I am the first of my mother’s children, but I am not a doctor, third, fourth, or fifth. Do you see the problem here? And not only am I her first-born, but I am her only girl. Do you feel the tension building?
From an anthropological standpoint, one might argue that there’s this society-implied responsibility of dream fulfillment; one that exists in order to make a certain type of mother proud, satisfied. And by that theory, it’s a daughter’s birthright, whether she chooses to accept it or not.