The first is from a family vacation to the Cayman islands sometime in the late nineties. We're on a pirate ship rum cruise. You know the kind- a large working pirate ship, actors dressed as swashbuckling pirates and enough rum punch to sink the Black Pearl. I was fourteen or fifteen this trip which made my brother a whopping six or seven years old at the time.
My Dad, the videographer, was surveying the ship with his camera in hand. In between interviewing me and my friend on our adventures at the wheel, he would pan over the ship, the sparking blue water glistening beneath the sun, our family full of smiles as we sailed the open seas.
At one point the camera is on me as I recant the day's adventures. I animatedly describe the weather, the pirates and how I was too scared to swing from the rope off into the open water, the entire exchange taking a mere three or four minutes. It wasn't until we returned home from our vacation and pulled the video up on the TV that we noted the real scene-stealer.
In the background of that same scene is a long skinny staircase that leads from the captain's wheel to the lower deck. While I was busy talking my brother was perched at the top of the staircase having just taken his turn at the wheel. Within the blink of an eye he had stumbled at the top step and literally slid, while standing mind you, down the entire flight of stairs. Picture a cartoon, stiff-legged bouncing down a set of stairs, head bobbling, the whole nine yards. Upon reaching the bottom, he paused, perplexed, took a look around as if to say, "I hope no one saw that" and went on his merry little way. And we had been none the wiser.
The second video is from a few years earlier in our childhood and takes place much closer to home, this time in our own backyard. You see, we didn't really have to venture very far to remind my brother that he truly was the second child in every sense of the word.
Once again I was the subject of yet another home video interview. My brother had been riding around the backyard on one of those Fisher Price-type quads, the kind you plug in and charge and only move while the foot pedal is depressed and I believe it was an Easter present which would explain why the course of my interview was about Spring and the bunny's recent visit to our house. My brother was four at the time which puts me at twelve years old.
As I ramble on, my brother can be seen in the background riding his quad back and forth across the yard. A bright yellow quad with blue and orange accents and large black handlebars. The image of this quad is so vivid and I laugh every single time I think about it. Once again, it wasn't until days later when we had all gathered around the TV to replay the family footage that my brother really stole the show.
At one point during my interview, the quad begins to creep in from the left side of the video frame. Slowly at first, in short jerky movements. It's around the third or fourth jerk that we notice my brother is no longer riding the quad but rather as it begins to pick up speed and zoom across the background of the frame, it becomes evident that he is lying on the ground alongside it, his hand pressing down on foot pedal, allowing the quad to literally drag him across the back yard at lightening speed.
Are you able to picture what I'm describing? Me, twelve years old in the foreground of a video camera, large round-rimmed glasses, braces and the worst bangs you've ever seen, waxing poetic about the Easter Bunny as a large yellow plastic quad drags my brother across our back lawn. And not a single person noticed until days later.
I'm sharing these stories with you today because it dawned on me the life that Maclane is destined for, the life of a second child. Just last night as we were gathered in the playroom after dinner, Carter was putting on a show for us, singing a song about (bull) dozers, rainbows and "sixers" (cement mixers) and it wasn't until he had taken his final bow to a round of excited applause that my husband and I both realized that way off in the background of the performance, there sat Maclane, quiet as a lamb, gnawing on a piece of jumbo sidewalk chalk, happy as a clam.
Maclane, we apologize now for the life ahead of you that will no doubt be full of oversight on our behalf. It does not mean we love you any less. It's just that those firstborn children are so demanding of attention. As a firstborn myself, we just can't help it.
You'll steal the show in your own way, Maclane, and we can't wait to see what way that is. As long as it doesn't involve the emergency room.
Oh, the life of a second child.