Monday, March 17, 2008

Second-Daughter Syndrome

I've always felt there should be a book written about my family. There's something enamoring and captivating about an all-girl family -- how each daughter is so different in personality yet all are united by the unmatchable bonds of sisterhood (yes, yes, I realize I am completely biased in my statement.) It almost makes you want to "collect them all," if they were action figures, right?

I've also always imagined that I would be the heroine, or at least the narrator of the story.

Hey, before you start rolling your eyes at me, let me present the evidence for this. Think of the other stories about all-girl families you've read or heard. The most famous are probably the Bennett sisters in the much-loved Pride and Prejudice and the March sisters in Little Women. There are even the five daughters of Fiddler on the Roof (I can't think of their surname off the top of my head.) Now, who is the main character in each story? (Disregard Fiddler for now.) Elizabeth Bennett and Jo March, right? Both are the second daughters. Like me. And it doesn't end there.

You know the first daughters, Jane and Meg, and even Tzeitel? They are the role models, and always remind me strongly of my older sister, the first daughter of our family (just take the following comments with a grain of salt and humor me, Hatsuho.) They are obedient and wise and prettier and more practical than the second daughter. Thus, they don't get into as much trouble, and have the sense and good fortune to marry the first good, hard-working young man they meet. I'm not saying that my sister didn't have her share of challenges, but she has an impeccably cleaner record than me: she has never gotten a speeding ticket, been in a car accident, failed a class, gotten a detention in high school, been in debt, missed a deadline, or really been careless and irresponsible in any way. Basically, she hasn't done anything to cause my parents grief since she was a newborn, and even then I hear she was really good at sleeping through the night. Nobody really has to worry about the first daughter. I, on the other hand, have been and still am the complete opposite.

But I also like to think that I possess some of the good qualities of the second daughter: the dreamer and schemer with a love of writing, getting into scrapes but learning from them, taking risks, and hopefully in the end finding a man who adores her imperfections (another trend is that the younger daughters get married before the second daughter, and that's OK.) Now, I would be pretty happy with myself if I could also acquire Lizzie's wit, Jo's intellect, and Hodel's grace. There's always room for improvement, right?

So there you have it, some of the foolish and slightly narcissistic thoughts that go through my head as I go through this thing called life. You can agree or disagree with me, but I firmly hold that second-daughter syndrome exists, and that I am infected with it.

OK, now you can start rolling your eyes at me.


Hatsuho said...

Have you ever thought that if MEG had written "Little Women", we would have seen more of her flaws? :)

Anyway Sayaka, you are such a good writer. You SHOULD write a book about the Seino daughters someday. And you DO remind me of Jo. I'm glad you keep posting to keep me entertained while I go crazy at home from waiting for this Baby Cook to make her grand appearance.

Yukiko said...

You make a good case. Too bad the fourth daughter is never very important to the story and often neglected. I think. I don't actually remember all the story lines. But you normally hear about the oldest two, the youngest, the middle wild child... and then the other :(

michiru said...

its all true. ive never read or care to read any of those books but i believe u, we all have a very pronounced spot in line as sisters! but i hope being 2nd sis doesnt make u sad or anything...and kiko needs to lighten up,everytime i read her comments they seem to end with a frowny offense kiks! i swear our family is more sad than happy these days!!

neeko said...

sayaka!! wow i decided to visit your blog to see if you actually updated and there are like 10 new entries! yay! anyway, i thought i should comment this one because all the other sisters did and i didnt want to be left out

p.s. michirus comment makes me laugh

Ranteumptom said...

Find me some literary examples of a guy with 8 sisters so I know what role I should play in my family dynamic.

Yukiko said...

whatever our family's so happy these days because there is a teeny little BABY now!

Hatsuho said...

you need another post soon!